Saturday, February 14, 2015
IHOP Expanding at Least Twice in Southern Illinois
Marion Mayor Robert L. Butler announced the Marion location last Jan. 17 at the Marion Chamber of Commerce annual dinner, which he later confirmed to WSIL-TV. Developers of The Hill, Marion Heights LLC, also confirmed the Marion location as the empty lot on The Hill immediately east of Holiday Inn Express.
The lot's bounded by Blue Heron Drive on the north (from which it will have access), Morgan Avenue, now The Hill Way, on the south, the existing Miners Drive on the east (going towards Menards) and a new access road on the west connecting The Hill Way with Blue Heron Drive that's now under construction.
The site's been connected with rumored restaurants for the last few years, including Olive Gardens at one point, but this is the first time a restaurant has been publicly announced. It follows the announcement late last year of a new Gander Mountain opening behind Menards.
Molly Parker of the this morning's Southern Illinoisan has the story on the new Carbondale location IHOP is eying.
Both Gary Williams, Carbondale's assistant city manager for economic development, and Hiren Patel whose MK Lodging LLC owns the UniCity Inn, confirmed that the troubled motel property will be torn down and replaced not only with an IHOP, but a second "3,000 square feet of space for another 'fast-casual' themed restaurant and 10,000 square feet of retail." Patel said he finalized the deal Thursday.
Patel's company bought the former America's Best Inn next to Steak 'n Shake last February after it had been closed by the city for code violations. Although he invested thousands into it to reopen and re-brand it, he said after a month of contemplating, the best business decision was to sell rather than pour thousands more into it.
Although deals have supposedly been reached for both parcels no deeds have been filed as of yet. If Patel just signed the purchase agreement Thursday, it would still take a few more weeks for deeds to be prepared, signed and filed. Even with signed deeds it still takes time. When Gander Mountain bought its property last Nov. 13, they didn't file the deeds and other documents for three weeks until Dec. 5.
Up until last fall the nearest IHOP restaurants were in the St. Louis area and Paducah, Ky. A new franchisee, Apple Investor Group, opened an IHOP in Cape Girardeau last October in the former Pasta House restaurant that closed last May.
The new Carbondale, and most likely Marion IHOPs will be new construction and will be among the first to feature the chain's new restaurant design.
Butler told Parker that as far as he’s aware, “there’s not been any change” in the Marion plans. “They told me they were looking at several locations in Southern Illinois.”
Patel's MK Lodging also owns the Comfort Suites in Marion.