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Shops 96 building 1

Developer Bruce Boyer, of Boyer Properties, presented renderings of the first building to be developed as part of the Shops 96 project during the Plan Commission special meeting on April 17 in St. John. The 23-acre development stretches to Joliet Street and the railroad tracks.

ST. JOHN — Work is moving forward on the Shops 96 development, Town Manager Steve Kil said. 

Construction at the intersection of West 96th Place and U.S. 41 is underway, which includes the installation of underground utilities and a future traffic light, Kil said. 

However, weather has delayed the 23-acre development, Kil said. 

"We are definitely running behind schedule, (there's) no question about it," he said. 

In addition to setbacks from heavy rains and snow, Kil said the extension of 96th Place to Joliet Street has to be redesigned because of poor soil conditions. Kil said the redesign should be complete by the first week of January, with bids going out during the same month. 

Despite some setbacks, Kil said the project should still be complete by fall 2020. 

"It's going to take the entire 2020 construction season," Kil said. "Some (of it is) due to delays and some of it is due to the amount of work that has to be done. We wanted to get as much as the underground done as we could so we could focus on the road construction (in the spring)." 

Kil said he knows the public has been frustrated over the northbound lane closure on U.S. 41, however, the closure is to accommodate construction for underground utility work. 

"We appreciate everybody's patience during the construction process," he said. "Unfortunately due to the need, (it's) unavoidable to have that lane closed."

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Drivers should expect the lane to remain closed until winter weather sets in, he added. 

When spring arrives, Kil said everyone should expect more delays on the well-traveled road, as the widening project begins on U.S. 41, which is separate from Shops 96 construction. 

"Folks should prepare for that to take place in 2020 as well," Kil said. "Everybody needs to understand it's a little inconvenient, but once construction is over, the safety of the roadway is going to be amazing." 

In April, various structures were leveled, readying the first Shops 96 building for construction, according to a previous Times report. Since then, various parts of the project have started, including the installation of an extension to connect the project and the Strack & Van Til and Target development, Kil said. 

Curb and stone work for the extension of 96th Avenue east has been completed, Kil said. 

The brick and limestone building in the first lot of the project will house four users and feature parking spots, patios, bike racks and a drive-thru window.

When asked about what business might be moving into the new development, Kil deferred all questions to Developer Bruce Boyer, of Boyer Properties. 

Boyer was not immediately available for comment. 

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