White Castle looks to open stand-alone shop in Valparaiso
By James D. Wolf Jr. Post-Tribune correspondent September 11, 2012 4:30PM
Updated: October 14, 2012 1:40PM
VALPARAISO — There should be an occupant for a vacant southeast corner of U.S. 30 and Sturdy Road come next spring, with more to come later.
The White Castle restaurant now located at the Speedway gas station at U.S. 30 and Indiana 2 — a few miles east — plans to relocate to the vacant 3-acre lot, taking the corner of what will become three land parcels.
White Castle and property owners Kyres Realty unveiled their plans at the Site Review Committee on Tuesday.
Long-time residents will recall the corner as having a motel, which had been abandoned, and attorney Andreas Kyres had first approached the city a few years ago with a plan, but the economy has since improved enough to pursue development, he said.
The current plans call for a 2,600-square-foot White Castle building that is bigger than the roughly 1,500- to 1,600-square foot space it occupies now, a 2,500-square-foot retail building south of that on Sturdy and a 5,000-square-foot restaurant east of the White Castle.
Kyres said they hope to put a sit-down chain restaurant there, but they don’t have any planned occupants for any of the buildings except for the White Castle.
Kyres Realty will have to reappear before the Site Review Committee if that work happens more than a year after Tuesday.
However, the White Castle group plans to begin some work as soon as possible because of the way people have embraced their current restaurant, ideally beginning construction in spring.
“We got into the community to test the waters, if you will, and found Valpo to be very receptive,” said Craig G. Ellers, engineering project manger for White Castle.
There’s a lot of work to be done before that could happen, though.
The Site Review Committee, which has representatives from most city departments, had concerns about some of the layout. City Engineer Tim Burkman had concerns about a driveway entrance off U.S. 30 for White Castle, as the city and Indiana Department of Transportation are trying to eliminate driveways.
“With the volume and speed on 30, we certainly don’t want to see access for every business,” Burkman said.
The city suggested extending the frontage road by Staples west and having another driveway off Sturdy.
Kyres Realty will have to have the property officially made a subdivision.
City officials would like White Castle to have parking behind the building rather than facing U.S. 30.
Both Kyres Realty and White Castle would have to pay for a 5-foot-wide sidewalk along the property, but the city will pay the rest for an 8-foot pathway to go there eventually.
Burkman believes that those involved with the corner’s development will need to come before Site Review again, but no one set a date for that.