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Old big-box store coming down, new development coming in Lansing
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Old big-box store coming down, new development coming in Lansing

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LANSING — A former big-box store that's been empty for years is coming down soon to make way for a new development.

The building that housed a Kmart at 17355 Torrence Ave., which closed in 2016, will be purchased and torn down by QuikTrip Corp., a national chain of gas station and convenience stores, Village Administrator Dan Podgorski said.

QuikTrip plans to build an 8,500-square-foot convenience center at the corner of 173rd Street and Torrence Avenue. It'll be one of the first ventures into Illinois for the company, which has around 850 stores nationwide.

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The business will have about 20 pump stations for autos and about six diesel pumps for trucks. But Podgorski said the business will not be a conventional truck stop, as no semis will be parking on the property overnight.

"It's validation in some ways for the policies we've put in place the past few years," Podgorski said.

The aim of those policies was to hold out for a specific kind of business that could enhance the Torrence Avenue corridor north of Interstate 80-94.

"It should be a hospitality corridor with restaurants, hotels, food and fuel," Podgorski said.

Self-storage spurned

What village officials did not want in that footprint was an indoor self-storage facility that would take over the old Kmart space.

"Our position all along was, 'We don't want that up on Torrence Avenue,'" Podgorski said. "There is a viable business corridor there and we'd be settling (with a storage facility)."

That's not to say there aren't other locations in the village where a storage facility would make sense. "There's places for it," Podgorski said.

In any case, the redevelopment of the future QuikTrip site did present some challenges. One was a 40-year-old easement that required parking be maintained for a former Dominick's supermarket building now home to LA Fitness.

That wasn't an issue for QuikTrip, according to Podgorski. The company plans to redo the parking lot and provide new landscaping for the property.

It's a perfect scenario for the village.

"We're taking a site that's been vacant for over four years and breathing some life back to it," Podgorski said. "There's going to be sales tax, fuel tax, property tax. ... We're thrilled to add QuikTrip to Lansing."

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