A YARRA Ranges local has bought the franchise rights for the controversial Tecoma McDonald's restaurant — after the original franchisee pulled out.
Businessman James Currie will be the franchisee for the Burwood Highway site after Howard Armitage — the son of Clive Armitage, the first McDonald's franchisee in Australia — recently withdrew.
Mr Currie said he was looking forward to opening the restaurant, with construction expected to start in May.
"I'm a born and bred Victorian and have lived in the Yarra Ranges for over 15 years," he said.
"I love the area and the people, and as a local businessman I'd really like to play an active and supportive role in Tecoma."
Mr Currie would not answer whether the controversy surrounding the restaurant had weighed on his decision, but said he hoped "the community and I can work together moving forward".
He also would not answer whether he had sought community feedback on the restaurant before making his decision.
McDonald's spokeswoman Skye Oxenham said there were "a number of candidates interested in . . . the Tecoma location".
She gave no indication as to why Mr Armitage had pulled out at such a late stage.
Earlier this month, 3000 people marched through the streets of Tecoma against the site and urged McDonald's hierarchy to meet with locals.
Ms Oxenham, however, confirmed that a meeting would not be happening in the near future.
No Maccas in the Hills spokesman Garry Muratore — who has previously labelled Ms Oxenham's rhetoric as "at best delusional or at worst a corporate lie" — said he did not believe McDonald's would actually begin construction in May.
"We believe McDonald's made this statement to draw attention to themselves after 3000 people walked through Tecoma and said 'no'."
Mr Muratore said the protest march was "the largest gathering of people ever in the Dandenong Ranges".
"McDonald's can say what they like but the community is against this."
Despite the store's imminent arrival in Tecoma, anti-McDonald's support continues to rise.