|On Monday, Feb. 9, 2015, the parcels in red shifted to pending.|
Now normally, I wouldn't run with something this thin, except that last Monday the land in question went from active to pending in the Egyptian Board of Realtors' multiple listing service used by local Realtors such as myself. (I'm associated with Paul Wilson Realty, LLC here in Marion.)
That means it's under contract and likely to close.
I've put a few calls around today and apparently something is coming separate from the IHOP deal announced last month. Today's calls also indicated a fourth restaurant may be in the works though no one in the know is talking about actual names.
I've heard a few names over the last few weeks, but never anything concrete, or supposedly connected with this proposed development.
The land in question is 6.06 acres of Wolohan property on the east side of Halfway Road and south of
In comparison, the original developers of the Fairfield Inn have recently listed their vacant land to the north of that hotel and to the west of Rent One Park. They're asking just under $1.6 million for the 3.66-acre tract which comes to $10/sq. ft.
The reputed new developers apparently are not interested in Wolohan's remaining 1.7 acre outlot across the new Volunteer Drive access road to the east. That listing is still active, rather than pending. Also not known is whether the developers have approached the owners of Marion Chevrolet-Cadillac about their vacant 2.2 acres immediately north of their dealership and immediately east of the concrete pad where the old Wolohan's Lumber building used to stand. It's acquisition isn't necessary, but it would square up the property lines to a point and bring the total land in play to just over 8 acres.
The land now pending would have access to Halfway Road on the west, The Hill Drive (formerly Morgan Avenue) to the north and Volunteer Drive, the new access road built last year to the east.
A few years ago Denny's had optioned the corner of Morgan and Halfway, but never closed on the deal.
Meanwhile as we wait on these developments we do know of one new restaurant that's definitely coming to Marion. It's a new Chinese eatery at the corner of Court and Boulevard across the street from Taco John's. It will be the seventh restaurant on Court.
Wei Chen LLC purchased the 14,000 sq. ft. tract at the corner on May 21, 2014, for $120,000, or $8.57/sq. ft. At just 0.32 acres, it was too small for most chain restaurants, even fast food establishments. Court Street had a traffic count of 11,500 vehicles a day on the stretch in front of the future restaurant. Boulevard had 5,300 vehicles.
Construction has been ongoing for the last few months and the parking lot is almost completely paved. No word yet on an opening date.
Down the street, A 'Lill' Taste of Cuba has switched up its menu and is now known as Ray's Cafe specializing in breakfast and lunch. According to their Facebook page, owner Loray Lill changed the name in January because of an upcoming move. Her brother is the new owner, hence the new name. They're still offering "the same authentic Cuban cuisine, gyros, Philly's, pastas, salads, sandwiches," but have added breakfasts. The new hours are 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday with breakfast served all day.
Back on the west side of town Sonic took out a building permit late last month for a $400,000 expansion and renovation to its existing location on Walton Way.
On the negative side of the economic development equation the Illinois Centre Mall continues to shed stores under the current slate of owners. Locally owned The Country Porch/Country Gourmet is closing its door at the end of the month with Sisters Three next door planning to follow. In addition the corporate chain of Deb Shops are closing all their stores, including the one in the Marion mall.
Vigiano's II Fitness Center also closed in January on the east side of the interstate. However that appears to be under contract with a new owner. Last Monday the Marion city council approved a recommendation from the city's revolving loan committee for a $175,000 loan to Gabe Parker and his father James Parker, to purchase the gym and reopen it under the name Raw Fitness Center. The loan is part of a financial package being prepared by Farmers State Bank.
The move comes at the same time the city's new Hub Recreation Center hit its goal of 2,000 memberships. Apparently, it's time for Marion to get in shape up in the most literal sense possible.