Slim Chickens will build on this site at The Wells. [Brian Petersheim Jr.]

The franchise rights owner for Slim Chickens restaurants in Arizona has acquired a site in Maricopa.

Tom Barnett, who owns the rights to operate up to 32 of the chicken-focused restaurants in Arizona as well as the city’s existing and future Burger King franchises, announced Slim Chickens will built on property between McDonald’s and Big 5 Sporting Goods along Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, near Walmart in The Wells.

Chicken lovers will have to be patient.

“We’ll likely break ground first quarter of next year on Slims,” Barnett said.

He said the process is taking a little longer than usual due to a difficult permitting process and higher construction costs,” he said.

Barnett described Slim Chickens as a fast-casual restaurant that competes with Chick-Fil-A. He had been actively looking since at least last July to bring a Slim franchise to town. The operator of 53 Burger King restaurants across the state, he is planning to open a second outlet in Maricopa, also in The Wells.

He is bullish on the city as a market for his new food offering.

“The Slim Chickens in Maricopa is going to be the biggest restaurant we ever opened,” Barnett said earlier this year. “If we open four or five of these in the next year, Maricopa is going to do the most sales by a mile.”

The restaurant will have a huge potential market in its back yard. The City has approved more than 1,300 apartments in the area of Porter Road and Maricopa-Casa Grande Highway, offering ideal market conditions for a fast-casual restaurant.

Sitdown chain restaurant Chili’s has also announced it will build a new restaurant at The Wells.