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National restaurants coming to DeKalb

DeKALB – A Jersey Mike’s Subs and Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins should be open on DeKalb’s west side by April, the developer said Tuesday.

Developer Steve Schwartz of Pearl Street Commercial LLC said construction on the former Lukulos building at 1101 W. Lincoln Highway would begin in January. Schwartz’s special use permit to divide the building, which will keep its drive-up, was approved by the DeKalb City Council, 7-1, on Monday night.

Only 7th Ward Alderwoman Monica O’Leary voted against the measure, but she did not say why during the meeting. In an interview Tuesday, O’Leary declined to detail why she opposed the special use permit.

For months, the City Council had delayed final action on the special use permit as the developer tried to find a second tenant for the building. Schwartz previously asked the council for financial assistance, in the form of a seven-year, 50-50 sales-tax rebate in July. The rebate was estimated to total $125,000.

While various aldermen on the council said they were supportive of a new business at that location, they were uncomfortable about giving a sales-tax rebate to a fast food restaurant.

The special use permit passed by the City Council on Monday includes no financial assistance from the city.

Schwartz declined to comment on whether the lack of financial assistance made it difficult to attract another business to the site. He added, however, that the economic climate requires developers these days to “work for it.”

“You can’t take anything for granted,” Schwartz said.

However, without the financial assistance from the city, not all of the renovations and re-designs Pearl Street Commercial wanted will make it into the final draft, Schwartz said.

“Obviously, our final plans incorporated many of those plans, but not all of them,” Schwartz said.

Mayor Kris Povlsen described the combination of Jersey Mike’s and Dunkin’ Donuts/Baskin-Robbins as being the “perfect tenant” for that corner. He said it offers a nice contrast with the local businesses in DeKalb’s downtown area.

“They’re national chains that are well-recognized,” Povlsen said. “When you have a younger population in town, they like to enjoy the familiarity they are comfortable with.”

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