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Local News

Development plan delayed for old Joliet Kmart

The former Kmart store, a 97,000-square foot building, has been vacant since the retailer left Joliet at the end of 2016.
The former Kmart store, a 97,000-square foot building, has been vacant since the retailer left Joliet at the end of 2016.

The city review of redevelopment plans for the empty Kmart store have been pushed back a month.

The plan involves a combination of self-storage space, restaurants and a possible grocery store at a corner of what has been Joliet's busiest intersection.

Just what gets built, however, depends on what the developer can attract to the site at Jefferson Street and Larkin Avenue.

The attorney for the project said Thursday that the developer will bring the plan back to the city for review when it is more solid.

"Our proposal right now is not set in stone," attorney Michael Hansen said. "We need to get a few things set in stone."

The Joliet Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday was slated to hold a public hearing on a special use permit for the project followed by another public hearing before the Plan Commission on the development plan. Both were tabled to the Nov. 19 meetings of both boards, which would make recommendations before the plan goes to the City Council for a final vote.

The 97,000-square-foot Kmart store closed in late 2016, and this is the first plan brought to the city for the site.

The property, which includes a large parking lot and rear loading area, is 10.6 acres.

The redevelopment plan that was up for review Thursday provided for more than 850 storage units, most of them in the old Kmart store with another 21,000 square feet of the parking lot being developed for storage units. The Kmart building would be divided into 62,000 square feet of storage space and 35,000 square feet of retail.

The mix of storage-retail space would change, however, if the developer can attract a grocery, which would take 60,000 square feet of the old Kmart store.

The number of restaurants would be one or two depending on whether a grocery comes in.

So far, the only identified user for the site is Next Door Self-Storage.

"We need to make sure we have some users for the property," Hansen said.

He said there have been talks with a grocery chain that the developer hopes to bring into the project.

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