In a few months, passersby will smell freshly baked bread and the sweet scent of pastries at the corner of W.S. Young Drive and Central Texas Expressway.

Panera Bread Co., a St. Louis-based food chain, is building a more than $1 million, 4,455-square-foot facility in Killeen, according to a city construction permit.

The facility will have a maximum occupancy of 161 people, the permit said.

The bakery, deli and cafe will be at 1723 E. Central Texas Expressway, in front of the Courtyard by Marriott.

Dirt work on the site began weeks ago, and the building is about to start going up, said Brian Schrock, a Panera Bread senior manager of development projects.

“Basically we were getting all our utilities in order and the landlord was handling that,” Schrock said. “We are looking to start building the shell toward the end of the month.”

Recent rains delayed the start of construction, Schrock said. Once it begins, construction will take about 120 days.

Killeen’s location will be slightly larger than the average free-standing Panera, Schrock said.

This year, Panera opened 30 locations bringing total company- and franchise-owned restaurants to about 1,800.

Killeen’s Panera is company-owned, he said.

According to the company’s fourth quarter report, Panera plans to open 125 bakery-cafes in 2014, which would have an “average weekly net sales performance target for new company-owned bakery-cafes of $41,000 to $43,000.”

That performance would generate more than $2 million in taxable sales per year for Killeen.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

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