LANSING — Lynnie Ques barbecue restaurant may be moving into a location at the Lansing Municipal Airport.
"We were excited. (The village) was excited. We’re ready to get this ball rolling," Lynnie Ques owner Lynn Cartwright said.
The building Lynnie Ques is eyeing at the northwest corner of the 600-acre airport was once occupied by Shannon’s Landing. That restaurant and pub closed in 2009, leaving the airport without a restaurant.
A concession agreement and a liquor license ordinance are expected to be on the agenda of upcoming board meetings, said Airport Manager John DeLaurentiis. The agreement includes yearly reviews of the business’s revenue to determine a fluctuating cost of rent.
Cartwright said the new restaurant will be a dine-in establishment with a full bar. The current Lynnie Ques barbecue, located in a strip mall just north of the airport at 19267 Burnham Avenue, is carry-out only. Cartwright expects to hire 10 to 12 employees as part of the expansion at the airport.
Cartwright said the plan is to begin a move-in at the end of April with a soft opening with limited hours about a month later. The target date for a grand opening is June 1.
The building will need to be maintained by the village, but the airport will avoid paying leasehold taxes with a concession agreement modeled after the one the city of Chicago used for Millennium Park.
Village inspectors are also preparing a report on safety and health code needs.
DeLaurentiis said the airport has seen a lot of interest in the location. He said the village wasn’t looking for just any business to open on the property, but the right business. DeLaurentiis believes the airport found that in Lynnie Ques.
There has been no lack of interest in the empty space that once housed Shannon's Landing, but there was a lack of experience and means among those interested, according to village officials.
"A lot of people have come to the airport that want to carry their keg of beer upstairs and sell hot dogs," Trustee Mikal Stole said. "This is a well-thought out business plan from someone that is well-respected in our community, has experience in the industry, has a business in town now."
"This, by far, of all of our previous petitioners, is the right fit," he said.
Improvements are needed, some of which have been made. Structural problems caused the bar to leak when Shannon’s Landing closed. Airport Manager John DeLaurentiis told the Board that his staff has made ceiling repairs and done some painting.
Under the agreement, the village will be responsible for the common area spaces and systems like the building’s elevator, main system plumbing, climate control systems, installed utility sources and access doors and stairways, Stole said. Stole chairs the Board’s aviation and economic development committee.
Stole said the elevator need to be put back in service and the dumpster area paving on the north side of the building needs to be completed. In addition, signs need to be installed on the north side for both Lynnie Ques and Windy City Aero.
The restaurant would be free to decorate and make upgrades to any village responsibilities which it deems necessary. That includes restaurant-specific hookups, fixtures, furniture, equipment, walk-in coolers and safety devices and systems, Stole said.
Estimated costs for the signage, elevator repair and certification, vestibule repair and correction of legacy code violations are around $20,000 or $30,000, Stole said. Lansing would pay for some of those upfront costs with Lynnie Ques paying 50 percent of the cost on others and receiving rent credits on others.
"That is not bad considering the Village never kept-up with (or budgeted for) needed repairs and code violations, and impediments of the building's original design not envisioning a 2nd floor restaurant," Stole said.