Progress began on razing the former Perkins building at the intersection of Borg Road and E. Geneva Street last week, with the building being completely demolished.
The Common Council approved a conditional use permit in August for the building to be razed and replaced with a new structure that will house a Qdoba and Noodles and Company.
Kyle Bennehoff was the applicant for the CUP. In his application, his plan is to demolish the Perkins building at 1312 E. Geneva St. and construct a new building with two tenants. Both restaurants will have drive-through windows, indoor seating, and the space for potential outdoor patio seating.
The site is properly zoned for the proposed use. The one concern expressed by City Planner Jackie Mich was the number of parking spaces planned for the site. She wrote that a minimum of 41 spaces are required to accommodate the 122 seating capacity of the two restaurants. There are exactly 41 spaces in the plans. One of the two restaurants is planning for outdoor seating, the other is not. If that restaurant, which was not named, decides to offer patio seating, they will have to reduce the number of seats available inside to stay under the 122 seating capacity.
The proposed landscaping for the site preserves existing trees, provides ample landscaping, and goes above and beyond what is required. Mich said it will be a significant improvement over current conditions.
Some concern was expressed about the drive-through lanes on the small site. The proposed plan shows sufficient aisle widths but there is potential for “vehicle conflict” at the southwest corner of the building.
The site will also have a fence on the south/southeastern edge of the site to prevent customers from walking into the drive-through lane.
Mayor Ryan Schroeder said he was aware the project was getting under way and was excited to see it come to fruition along with the other development that has taken place in that area and in other places in the city.
Schroeder said there has been a lot of development activity just in that area of the city in the last few years.
“It just points to the success we have had the last two to three years,” he said.
Filling the vacant Shopko space, he said was huge, first with Harbor Freight and more recently with Slumberland moving in. King’s Chinese Restaurant has also opened next to Piggly Wiggly, Kwik Trip was recently built, the Mobil site was redeveloped not long ago, ad Wendy’s got a makeover.
“It is nice to see once empty storefronts filling up,” Schroeder said. “It is encouraging on all levels—job creation, empty stores no longer being eyesores.”
Schroeder said development around the city has been progressing nicely in the last few years as evidenced by the new construction in the industrial park north of Mound Road. Millenium, Schroeder said, was very close to leaving the city when it looked to expand from its previous site on Wright Street. Instead, they built a new building in the city and are looking to expand again. More expansion by another tenant in the industrial park may happen soon as well.
Residential growth has also been brisk in the last two to three years. Two apartment buildings are currently under construction next to Fest Park and another may be in the works. Residential home building is also up. Schroeder said over 25 new homes were built in the city from 2020-2021 and over 30 more have been built since then. He said there had been about 24 homes built in total from 2009-2019. The new Arbor Ridge development will potentially add 24 more homes to the city and Lake Lawn Resort is already in the process of building two new homes in its new development by the marina.
Schroeder said the city is seeing development across all three levels: manufacturing, retail, and residential. That amazed him considering how high construction costs have been lately.
“It is very encouraging to see,” he said. “It is the result of the hard work by the Chamber of Commerce and Visit Delavan to promote the community.”
Schoeder said that new development increases the tax base and evens things out for the rest of the property owners in the city. It also better enables the city to afford its initiatives.