Cold War-era site in Orland Park to sprout restaurants, retail

A relic of the Cold War era on busy LaGrange Road in Orland Park could soon be home to restaurants and retail uses, according to a proposal being considered by village officials.

A Mokena commercial real estate developer, Location Finders International, is moving ahead with plans to develop a 14-acre tract on the west side of LaGrange immediately south of 156th Street.

Part of the site had been used as a Nike missile launching facility when the United States feared a possible attack by Russian bombers raining down atomic weapons on major metropolitan areas.

It was later used as a vehicle maintenance facility by the Army Reserve, but has sat unused for many years.

Chuy’s, a Tex-Mex food chain, and Miller’s Ale House have been identified as two restaurants committed to the project. A third restaurant has also signed on, but LFI isn’t yet identifying it, according to Dan Rose, director of retail development for Location Finders.

Toward the rear of the property, the company plans a 40,000-square-foot building and is in talks with a number of retailers, Rose said.

At its May 9 meeting, the village’s Plan Commission recommended preliminary site plan approval for the development, and the Village Board could take up the matter at its June 5 meeting.

It took several years for Location Finders to get to this point and assembling the property for development. It owned about five acres of the site, but worked with the Army Reserve, which owned the rest, to acquire the balance of the property. Rose said the process took about six years.

“This was definitely a learning process for us. It wasn’t simple,” he said.

Location Finders couldn’t purchase the site, which is unincorporated and would be annexed to Orland Park, but agreed to an exchange with the military, under which the company committed to an extensive project replacing water and sewer lines at Fort Sheridan in the north suburbs, now an Army…

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