Mokena seeks mid-sized stores


A Walgreens, hotel, restaurants, bank and mid-sized anchor stores may be located near the southwest corner of 191st and LaGrange Road, one of Mokena's last available prime retail sites.

Officials viewed two separate development plans by two adjacent landowners at a recent village board meeting, but said they want to see a cohesive development.

A bank is the only identified user on a 22-acre parcel south and west of the Shell Gas station, but owners said there is space for three medium-sized anchors.

Trinity Land Development, which owns one portion of the land, said it is trying to maximize the retail space, but have no other tenants lined up.

Since the anchors will drive the actual layout of this 22-acre site, trustees asked the developers to return when they have more details.

Trustee Laura Rusiniak said she does not want to give "prime LaGrange Road frontage" to a bank. She wanted the primary retail users to face LaGrange Road and 191st Street.

Landowner George Georgiou, who owns 14 acres south of that, has plans for a Walgreens, a 100-room hotel, a restaurant and inline shops. His plan will be moving forward to the plan commission for a public hearing.

While officials welcomed the Walgreens, it is contingent upon a stoplight being installed at Birch Avenue and LaGrange Road.

Officials were concerned about having too many small shops in both projects, and preferred larger retail stores.

Trustee Joe Siwinski felt the board was "hurrying" Georgiou's plan because of Walgreens.

"I don't like it. We have to look at what makes sense for the whole village," Siwinski said.

Residential neighbors said they do not want these proposed retail centers to have access from Everett Lane. They feared an increase in traffic and possible truck traffic through the Grasmere subdivision.

The majority of board members agreed.

"You do not need access to Everett for any reason," Trustee Don Labriola said.

Everett currently is home to a few other businesses, including Mr. Benny's Restaurant, a day care center, a bank and an office building.

Trustee Jane McGinn said 191st Street and Everett will be a signalized intersection. "It's silly not to use it," she said.

Traffic signals also are being considered at either Bormet or Birch, to access the retail area via LaGrange Road.

"I would like to see the whole site developed as one plan," Trustee John Mazzorana said. "We should tie it together as best we can."

While owners have different thoughts on how the land should be developed, officials said there could be cohesiveness in the architecture, landscaping and traffic flow.

Source:Susan DeMar