NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — A taste of Baton Rouge is proposed for Normal. On Wednesday, the Town’s Planning Commission held a public hearing and ultimately approved an amended final development plan for a Raising Cane’s.
The chicken finger spot is set to replace Beauty Brands in the Shoppes at College Hills. The proposed plan for Raising Cane’s would demolish the current building.
Core Acquisitions, a Chicago real estate company, is the owner of the property. The company’s other tenants in Central Illinois are Bandana’s Bar-B-Q in Bloomington and Valvoline, Mission BBQ, and the Supplement Superstore in Peoria.
Beauty Brands has been in that location for 13 years. Adam Bell, VP of Development for Core Acquisitions, said the lease for Beauty Brands is up in May 2025 with no further extensions and no ability to extend.
“Our investigations indicated that the tenant would either be terminating their lease early or would not be renewing any further at this property,” he said.
Bell said the company was acting as “prudent landlords,” to find someone to occupy the space in May 2025.
“I think we are more than lucky to have been able to find Raising Cane’s and work with such an amazing group,” said Bell. “We think that they’re going to be an amazing asset to this company and they’re going to be here for decades to come. We believe that it’s the perfect use for the future of this property.”
However, news of nonrenewal and demolition is a surprise to Beauty Brands. Jessica Travis, General Manager for Beauty Brands, read a statement on behalf of the Beauty Brands CEO David Bernstein.
“Our plan was to seek additional terms at the conclusion of our current lease. The plan to demolish this building has come to a complete surprise to us,” Travis read. “We received no advanced communication which is customary in relationships between tenant-landlord. It is our hope to remain in Normal but that may be difficult somewhere alternative if this plan is approved.”
Mercy Davison, Normal Town Planner, said that the process for town staff is to approve the project per the zoning code.
“We’re looking at this from a zoning code perspective. We don’t get involved in the private lease arrangements, rental arrangements, etcetera. We process things based on how they comply with code,” she said.
An architect, a civil engineer, and a traffic engineer were present on behalf of Raising Cane’s.
“We’ve been working on this for quite a while. “I came and visited in person and just tried to get a better idea of what staff would need for us to bring a complete application to you and a project that the town would be proud of,” said Angela Robinson, Property Development Manager for Raising Cane’s.
Travis, other Beauty Brands associates, customers, and even the general manager from Red Robin expressed concerns for traffic and safety. The salon store sits at the corner of Veterans Parkway and Von Maur Drive. When turning onto Von Maur from Veterans, incoming traffic does not stop but there are three stop signs from the other directions.
“This is our biggest shopping center in Normal. It’s on our biggest highway in Normal. All the infrastructure around it was designed to handle the most traffic in all of Normal. And there are multiple ways to get into this site,” said Davison. “You would assume that over time that if people want to go to a busy place they will find other ways to get there. So, to have to go a different way to avoid some congestion is actually not a bad thing.”
The commission unanimously voted to approve the plans. The planning commission only serves as an advisory body to the Town Council. The plans will go before the council on Nov. 6.