Friday, March 23, 2012

Land Deals Signal New Restaurants for Marion

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Now that Marion has two hotels under construction — a new Holiday Inn Express and a Comfort Inn — expect new restaurants to quickly follow.

Wolohan Enterprises sold 1.65 acres Monday to Logan’s Roadhouse. The land lays along Halfway Road opposite America’s Best Inns. Though not publicly confirmed, area construction sources indicate bids have already been submitted for the new restaurant.

The land sale is the second piece of the old Wolohan Lumber Co. property sold since they closed the store and tore down the building six years ago. They sold the first parcel five years ago to Newcomb Oil Co. for the FiveStar Food Mart convenience store that opened Dec. 6, 2007.

Wolohan Capital Strategies tried to sell the rest of the land on their own, but the recession kept buyers away. Eventually they listed the remaining 10.56 acres with Dave Thompson Realty on April 23, 2009 for $9.33 a sq. ft. for the entire tract. Buyers wanting a smaller piece could pay $15 a sq. ft. for a 1.5 acre corner.

That might have been a bargain as the latest sale (Lot 1) brought that price and the company re-listed the remaining property in three other lots, all priced at $15 a sq. ft. as well.

Now, a second buyer wants Lot 2 just to the north on Halfway Road. This 1.5 acre tract sits opposite Country Inn & Suites and a potential sale is listed as “pending” in the multiple listing service of the Egyptian Board of Realtors. Thompson confirmed the buyer as another restaurant.

Contrary to rumors the land won’t be the future home of a relocated and enlarged existing Marion restaurant known for its seafood. Instead, think of it as a blast from Marion’s past making a return to the Hub of the Universe.

Wolohan’s Lot 3 covers 4.65 acres on the south side of Morgan Avenue opposite MidCountry Bank and the new Holiday Inn Express. Halfway Road bounds it on the west and a proposed new access road, Hill View Way, on the east. Lot 4’s 2.53 acres lay on the south side of Morgan Avenue with Hill View Way on the west and south and AmerenCIPS’ substation on the east.

The Illinois Department of Transportation is paying for the street which will allow access to the former Village Green property next to the interstate. IDOT bought the access rights from that property to Morgan Avenue for the new expanded overpass expected to be let for bids later this year. According to the listing for Lot 4, construction on the street should be finished later in the summer.

IDOT included funding for the new street in the larger I-57/Rt. 13 interchange project which will start April 2.

Two other restaurants are known to be considering sites below The Hill though no deal appears to have been consummated. Across the highway on the south side of Route 13, three existing restaurants have either renovated, updated or have been replaced. McDonald’s held its grand-reopening at the beginning of the month for its remodeled facility. The truck stop reopened at a Pilot Travel Center last December with a new Subway and farther west, Taco Bell has also underwent a facelift.

East of the interstate look for KFC to be the next one building with plans already submitted to the city for a new restaurant located in what’s now their east parking lot.

For more information on Marion's real estate market, or assistance in buying and selling real estate in the region, contact the author of this blog, Jon Musgrave, a Realtor with Paul Wilson Realty LLC of Marion, Illinois.

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