Warehouses added to Rock Run Crossings plan

A new feature is being added to the plans for Rock Run Crossings, which is billed as a future destination center that would attract shoppers, diners, movie goers and more from a region spanning into the Chicago suburbs and central Illinois – warehouses.

The Joliet City Council on Tuesday approved several measures related to the project, including tax incentives and a rezoning of about 17 percent of the site for industrial development.

The entire project is 263 acres located at the crossroads of Interstates 55 and 80, location seen as a boon for future development but currently lacking access from the interstates.

The council approved a rezoning of 59 acres previously slated for general business development and now zoned for light industrial.

The industrial development would go on the east end of the property nearest to the existing Rock Run Business Park, which largely consists of warehouses now.

The addition of industrial development to the plan raised a couple of questions from council members at a Monday workshop session but no serious objections.

The council voted 7-0 for the rezoning and establishment of a Tax Increment Financing District to help fund development of Rock Run Crossings.

Interim City Manager Jim Hock said the city is making provisions for barriers aimed at keeping trucks from venturing into into the retail, restaurant and entertainment segment of the development.

“Staff had a concern about 18-wheelers,” Hock said Monday, noting the city does not want semitrailers to use a new interchange to be built at Interstate 55 to get to the industrial sector of the development.

“There’s a turnaround designed to prevent them from going there,” Hock said.

The city wants to make sure that semitrailers will use Interstate 80 to get to the future industrial sector of Rock Run Crossings.

“The goal was to keep it adjacent to the existing industrial and to create barriers between the commercial and industrial areas,” Hock said.

Richard Joseph, attorney for developer Cullinan Properties, noted that the turnaround with barricades that is being contemplated would not be built until after the new I-55 interchange is open and it is determined there is a need to build them.

“The decision of whether a barricade is necessary will be in the city’s whole discretion,” Joseph added.

Construction on the interchange at I-55 and Route 59 is scheduled to begin this year.

Rock Run Crossings has been in the works for several years without any development taking place yet. But Cullinan representatives have said the construction of the I-55 interchange is key to attracting business because it would provide the first good access to the site.

Mayor Bob O’Dekirk called the approvals on Tuesday “a big step forward” for the project.