JOLIET — New restaurants are coming to town this year, including Lou Malnati’s Pizza (carryout only) and a Chipotle Mexican Grill.
New restaurants remodeling old spaces for their business helped hike the number of commercial building permits issued in 2011, David Mackley, director of inspectional services, told the Land Use Committee last week.
Mackley gave a report on building activity.
The number of permits both for new construction and remodeling projects in 2011 was 3,913, up from 3,511 in 2010, Mackley reported.
Mackley said he could not name all the projects in the works for 2012, since some developers have yet to take permits. But, he said, “Believe me, we’ve got good things coming in 2012.”
Two of the bigger names coming to town are Lou Malnati’s and Chipotle. Lou Malnati’s is taking space for a carryout-only restaurant in the strip mall on the southeast corner of Route 59 and Theodore Street. Chipotle is going into an open spot at Louis Joliet Pointe, a strip mall outside of the Westfield Louis Joliet mall.
Other restaurants in the works include a Red Goose Bakery opening soon downtown and a barbecue place that will go into the former Hot Skillet on West Jefferson Street. And, there is the Paula Deen’s Kitchen, previously announced, coming to Harrah’s Casino.
Mackley noted also that the recent opening of Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery at the Westfield Louis Joliet mall has put the mall close to full occupancy.
“That’s great news,” Mackley said. “There aren’t a whole lot of malls that can say that.”
While the city issued 402 more commercial permits in 2011 than 2010, the dollar value of those developments was down almost half. Building permits in 2010 included the Hollywood Casino pavilion and the new Home Depot distribution center, which opened recently.
The total value of the projects that received permits 2011 was $106.5 million, while projects getting permits in 2010 were worth $196.2 million.
Most of the new businesses coming to town are remodeling available space for their businesses, Mackley said. Existing businesses, too, have been remodeling. Mackley said all three anchor tenants at the Westfield Louis Joliet mall — Sears, Carson Pirie Scott and JCPenney — remodeled in 2011.
Mayor Thomas Giarrante said he has talked with one business developer looking to build near the Westfield Louis Joliet mall but available land has become a problem.
“They want to build but they can’t find a spot,” he said.
Mackley said he believed that the number of businesses looking for spots will lead to construction activity eventually.
Some other projects in the works or recently opened are:
The APL storage yard now operating in the CenterPoint Intermodal Center.
The D’Arcy Volkswagen dealership that will relocate into the former Saturn location on West Jefferson Street.
A dollar store and auto parts shop taking space on East Cass Street formerly occupied by the Prayer Tower Church of God in Christ, which is moving into a new church under construction on Stryker Avenue.
A dialysis center under construction on East Jackson Street;
A dock expansion at the Central Grocers distribution center.