Wal-Mart bringing change to LH south of Chicago

A story in the Southtown Star of suburban Chicago, Illinois, reports that the Lincoln Highway through New Lenox south of Chicago, will be remade over the next 18 months:

“This is the biggest news of the year. This is incredibly good news. This is the big one we have all been waiting for,” New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said….

Upgrades include left-turn lanes at cross streets from Marley Road to Joliet Highway and in front of Lincoln-Way Central High School, plus temporary signals at Marley and new signals at Schoolhouse Road. [See Google Maps aerial view below.]

IL_NewLenAerial

The work, which will greatly alter the Lincoln Highway roadscape, is in preparation for a Wal-Mart plaza across from Cooper Rd/Roberts Rd/Williams St. It looks like the development will fill one of the last large pieces of land along the LH there: note the house and surrounding fields on the north side of the road.

Oddly, this is just preliminary until permanent upgrades can be done:

All work is compatible with IDOT’s ultimate $80 million plan to make Lincoln Highway a fully improved five-lane road. Money for that massive construction project is not included in any budget at this time, said New Lenox village administrator Russ Loebe.

But these interim improvements “should buy the community quite a few years of smooth cruising” on Lincoln Highway, he said.

An insightful article also was published in Chicago Business News about the real estate deal. McVickers Development bought 73.5 acres from two sellers for a combined price of $18.9 million, then will sell it to Wal-Mart, Menards home improvements, Petco, Staples, Aldi, and other retailers. McVickers will likely lose money on the sale to Wal-Mart:

Typically, an anchor tenant such as Wal-Mart demands better financial terms because the company knows the developer can make it up by charging higher rents to the smaller tenants.

“In general, developers almost never, ever make money on the big boxes, and very often they lose money,” says Matthew Silvers, a principal in the Midwest brokerage arm of Northbrook-based Next Realty LLC, who represented McVickers in the acquisition.

Mr. Silvers says major retailers like Wal-Mart dictate how much they are willing to pay for land based on their forecast of a store’s profitability.

“They’ve got their own economic analysis, and that’s just going to be what they can pay for the land, and the developers have to deal with it,” Mr. Silvers says.

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