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NORMAL - A Schnucks Marketplace is on target to open late this year on part of 76 acres at Raab Road and Main Street.

A theater also still is part of the development known as Constitution Trail Center. But it may not be the Galaxy 15 originally planned by Wehrenberg Theaters.

Terry Clauff, chief executive officer for Dial Properties, one of the principals in the development, said the option with Wehrenberg to bring a 15-screen cinema to 11 of the acres has expired.

"The final PUD (planned unit development) will include a theater," he said, but he will not announce the name of the theater until the deal is complete.

Kelly Hoskins, Wehrenberg marketing director, said the company doesn't discuss pending development details. However, she said Wehrenberg remains "very committed" to the market.

"We plan to open a theater there within a year," said Hoskins.

Clauff and Steve Clary, chairman of Clary Development and another principal in the project, plan to bring a final plan for the center to the town within 30 days. The City Council approved a preliminary plan for the project in October.

Dial Properties, based in Omaha, Neb., and Clary Development, based in Little Rock, Ark., formed a new entity, Constitution Trail LLC, and took the lead for the project in July.

David Rose of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., who initially presented a plan for the site in 2001 under the Coral Ridge development company, maintains a limited partnership in the project, Clauff said.

Dial Properties and Clary Development have developed regional shopping centers across the county.

Clauff said construction on Schnucks will start immediately after the final plan has been approved and purchase of the land is finalized. That is expected to happen this spring.

"Schnucks is fully committed to and very excited about the Normal store. Everything is on track as far as we know," said Lori Willis, Schnucks communications director. She did not know when the store may open.

Schnucks plans a 58,246-square-foot store and accompanying gas station.

Dave Ezell, manager of Schnucks at 1701 E. Empire St., Bloomington, said the new store will be slightly smaller than the existing grocery store, which measures about 70,000 square feet.

He said smaller groceries represent a trend in the industry.

As for job prospects at the new store, Ezell said 130 people work at the Bloomington Schnucks.

Clauff said several small shops will be built adjacent to Schnucks and several other buildings will be constructed on the land that runs parallel to Main Street. Those buildings are expected to house a variety of retailers and restaurants.

The initial phase of the center will include 156,000 square feet of businesses.

Work on the theater will start in the latter part of the initial phase, he said. The Wehrenberg theater was planned on 11 acres at the northeast corner of the property near Interstate 55.

"The key element to the project is continued cooperation with the city," Clauff said. "There are substantial public improvements necessary to develop that property."

Normal City Manager Mark Peterson said the town has had some discussions with the developers "on whether the town would participate in some improvements given that some may have general public benefit."

No decision has been made on town involvement.

Don Adams of Farnsworth Group told the planning commission in October that Raab Road would be widened to include turn lanes near the development entrance and traffic lights would be added at Bradford and School streets.


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