Crown Point looks to lure chain restaurants, hardware store
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent June 17, 2012 8:22PM
Updated: June 18, 2012 9:00AM
CROWN POINT — Sonic, Culver’s, White Castle and a yet-to-be-announced hardware store all have set their sights on the city.
The news comes on the heels of city officials and Redevelopment Commission members’ trip to the International Council of Shopping Centers annual RECon in Las Vegas May 20 to 23.
“We had a very good meeting with those groups,” said Mayor David Uran in his report last week to the Redevelopment Commission on the conference. “I’m very confident in the next 12 months we will have some letters of intent from one or two, if not three (new businesses).”
Crown Point officials took full advantage of RECon by not only looking for potential leads, but by setting up a booth to provide information about the city and having the key officials, including Uran and chief of staff Keith Stevens, on hand to talk to interested companies.
“Culver’s came to our booth and said they are ready to make a move to Crown Point,” Uran said.
Another spot of interest is the 109th Avenue and Interstate 65 corridor. That, he said, is where White Castle would like to locate. Uran said White Castle wants a location that will capture the I-65 traffic and not cannibalize its existing location on Broadway and U.S. 30 in Merrillville. An Illinois developer also is looking at the 109th Avenue corridor for a possible hotel site.
Negotiations already are under way between the hardware-type store and owners of the Jewel Foods plaza on Main Street. Uran said the name of the business could not be released due to the ongoing nature of the negotiations.
“We had the opportunity to sit down and bring some leads back. Now we have to contact local developers,” Uran said.
Chip Rodgers with Fort Worth-based Buxton Co., a retail site selection firm, appeared before the Redevelopment Commission at the mayor’s request. He said there is more the city can do to attract the types of businesses its consumers can support. What officials have been doing in Las Vegas is a good first step.
“It’s said about 80 percent of every retail deal is initiated in the third week of May in Las Vegas,” Rodgers said.
Buxton compiles detailed household analytics that businesses and developers look for when considering where to locate. The company uses its information to help municipalities determine which businesses and services its demographic will support.
“Now the work starts to follow up on how better to position yourself for next year,” Rodgers said.
The city is on the radar of businesses thanks in part to amenities like the Sportsplex. Uran said restaurants in particular are looking to capitalize on the influx of families who will take advantage of the athletic fields at the complex. He said using a firm like Buxton will help the city generate even more productive leads.
Redevelopment Commission members authorized the company to prepare a presentation on its services for their next meeting.