JOLIET – A developer with a track record in retail and office construction has bought the 264 acres in Joliet once slated for the Bridge Street Town Centre shopping mall.
Cullinan Properties has not yet laid out a plan for the site at Interstates 55 and 80 but a spokeswoman said it likely is to be a mixed-use development.
“Our vision for this site is to start with a clean slate, while evaluating what is best for the city of Joliet, and the market reaction to a variety of uses,” Chief Operating Officer Christopher West said in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon by the company.
“We are very excited to acquire this property with such tremendous visibility and also being strategically located at the hub of I-55 and I-80, especially with our regional office in such close proximity to the site, which makes it an ideal location for us to develop,” he continued.
East Peoria-based Cullinan acquired the property from O & S Holdings, which bought it in 2008 for a lifestyle mall, hotels and offices. The plan stagnated when the recession arrived.
City officials have resisted previous proposals to develop the site for warehouses.
Cullinan’s portfolio includes retail, office, medical and multi-family properties, but little industrial space. One project in Morton combines industrial space with stores.
“What they’ve shown us that they’ve done in other areas has been very impressive,” Mayor Bob O’Dekirk said as the City Council discussed the matter this week.
The City Council voted Tuesday to end its development agreement with O & S Holdings, an action sought by Cullinan before it completed the acquisition.
Councilwoman Jan Quillman said before voting to end the development agreement that she did not want to see warehouses on the site.
“That’s still a prime piece of property, although we’ll probably never get a lifestyle mall there,” Quillman said, referring to the Bridge Street Town Centre proposal.
The council vote does not obligate Cullinan to any particular type of development.
But O’Dekirk said city officials, when meeting with Cullinan representatives, warned against warehouse development.
“We made it clear that it would not pass the council as a logistics plan,” he said.
City Manager Jim Hock said Cullinan will have to come to the council for approval for whatever project its proposes for the site. He noted the site does not have zoning for industrial development now.
“The property currently is zoned like our downtown for business,” Hock said. “They [Cullinan] want this to be as much commercial as possible.”
City officials recently considered a development proposal from Hillwood Investment Properties, a Texas-based developer of warehouse space, that set aside some space for commercial development. The council’s Economic Development Committee voted 2-1 to recommend the Hillwood proposal for approval, but the plan never came to the full City Council.