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Local News

Rock Run Crossings still on the drawing boards

Not much has happened at Rock Run Crossings since this groundbreaking ceremony on March 22, 2019.
Not much has happened at Rock Run Crossings since this groundbreaking ceremony on March 22, 2019.

Not much more ground has been broken since a ceremonial groundbreaking for the 265-acre Rock Run Crossings project a year ago.

The project is ongoing, with interchange plans in the works and a public hearing coming in June for a Tax Increment Financing District to offset development costs.

But Rock Run Crossings, envisioned as a combination retail, restaurant, residential, office, medical and entertainment complex, still is largely on the drawing boards for developer Cullinan Properties.

Cullinan is moving forward with the project even in a market radically altered by coronavirus, spokeswoman Anaise Berry said.

“It’s uncharted territory for us,” Berry said. “At the same time, we’re tending to the Rock Run project. Our efforts in leasing Rock Run and our other properties have not halted.”

Cullinan has not announced any more leases since the groundbreaking in March 2019 when the developer celebrated its first tenant.

Construction has not even started on the 70,000-square-foot, 16-screen theater announced for Regal Cinema.

The developer acknowledged then that the groundbreaking was ceremonial and did not have a timetable for construction of the theater. But excavation and infrastructure work was expected to occur with actual buildings to be erected in 2020.

The only construction has been a landscaping project in which 150 trees were transplanted to the north end of the property to create a buffer with neighboring homeowners.

What also has not started is an improved interchange to provide direct access to the site, which is in the northeast corner of the crossing of Interstates 55 and 80. The national crossroads location is believed to be a boon to the potential of the site.

The state has funded the interchange improvements, and the Illinois Department of Transportation was to hold a public meeting to provide details on the plan last month. But the meeting was called off as restrictions started to be put in place for public gatherings.

The next meeting related to the project is a June 2 public hearing at
6:30 p.m. before the City Council on the proposed tax increment financing district.

A city staff memo on the TIF proposal points to limited access as a key factor inhibiting development since a previous developer acquired the land in 2008 for a project that was stymied by the recession.

“It’s a big project,” said Berry, noting that Cullinan has had the property for five years and has altered its plans since then because of changes in the market.

“Five years ago it was planned to be a much more retail-based project.”

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