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Portillo's withdraws petition for Oak District location, eyeing other locations, developer says
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Portillo's withdraws petition for Oak District location, eyeing other locations, developer says

Portillo's in Merrillville

The Portillo's in Merrillville is shown.

SCHERERVILLE — Portillo's has put a pause on opening a drive-thru location in Schererville while it considers other locations for the restaurant. 

During a Monday Schererville Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, a letter dated July 23 was read into the record requesting the withdrawal of a petition for a variance of use the restaurant would have needed.

The petition at hand was a request for a variance to allow a drive-thru lane for Portillo's on lot 2 of the Oak District development at 341 Indianapolis Blvd., which is within the town's U.S. 41 commercial corridor overlay district. 

The Board, in a unanimous 5-0 vote, approved withdrawing the petition. 

Join Tristan DeFord, Jami Rieck, and Nancy Zakutanksky on a shift working for Superior Ambulance in Merrillville.

Tom Collins, owner and president of Luke Family of Brands, developer of Oak District, told The Times Thursday the restaurant is pausing its plans to move into the development while scoping out other locations. 

The decision, Collins said, is "not uncommon right now," as national retailers looking for new locations are doing "extra due diligence."

"When they did their economic study for Schererville, it came back actually stronger than what they had first imagined," Collins said. "I think at that point, they decided to look at other options in that corridor, and go back and make sure they had the right size store, the right location, the right traffic pattern." 

Collins said the fast-casual restaurant's real estate team said it was pressing pause on the Oak District location to "look at a few other options." 

Portillo's public relations did not immediately return a request for comment from The Times. 

With the petition withdrawn, Collins said Luke Brands can put lot 2 of Oak District back on the market. 

"I would say in the very near future, next week or 10 days, we'll probably go back to market on that location," Collins said. 

He added: "We've had more interest in that lot than any other project I've ever done, but then we've also had a lot of movement in and around the corridor."

A Chick-fil-A is slated to open in Oak District this summer, and permits have been pulled to build a 5,710-square-foot LongHorn Steakhouse in the development, according to a previous Times report

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South Lake County Reporter

Mary Freda is the South Lake County reporter at The Times. She is a proud Ball State graduate, where she studied news journalism and Spanish. You can reach Mary at mary.freda@nwi.com or 219-853-2563.

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