JOLIET – Pilot Travel Centers plans to open a Joliet location.
Pilot, which has gas stations combined with diesel fuel for truckers, convenience stores, and usually franchise restaurants on-site, would go on the southeast corner of Route 53 and Laraway Road.
The location is near CenterPoint Intermodal Center-Joliet and in the heart of an area that has developed in recent years with distribution centers and trucking businesses.
"It's gangbusters," said Joliet attorney Michael Hansen, who is representing Pilot and has represented other area developers. "And there's more good development coming in the area."
IKEA announced Thursday it is moving forward with a Midwest distribution center planned for the Laraway Crossings Business Park, located across Laraway Road from the proposed Pilot site.
Pilot would be on the other side of Route 53 from Route 66 Food n Fuel, a similar business that opened as the trucking market developed.
The Pilot project was approved by the Joliet Plan Commission on Thursday. The project next goes to the Joliet City Council for approval.
The commission approved Pilot's request to be exempt from the planned unit development process, which was required for the site when it was annexed into Joliet in 2006. Pilot also would be exempt from a 50-foot wide landscape area along Laraway and Route 53, which was part of the annexation agreement.
City staff has recommended approval of the exemptions.
Hansen said the annexation agreement was made with the idea that the site would be used for warehouse development. Pilot plans a 30-foot wide landscape area.
"They want to get going as soon as possible with construction," Hansen said. "Then they want to open later this year, I'm sure."
The Pilot Travel Center would be built on a 9.2-acre site.