Pizza Hut returning to Kankakee

April 13, 2019

Pizza Hut, once a well-established West Station Street restaurant in Kankakee, will be returning to Kankakee in the coming months.

The former Donut King restaurant, 375 W. Court St., closed in April 2014, was sold in September 2018 to EYM Realty of Illinois LLC for $190,000.

Based in Dallas, Texas, EYM Realty attracts popular restaurants such as Pizza Hut, Burger King, Denny’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken to eight states. In addition to Illinois, the company works in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas.

Attempts to contact the company were unsuccessful.

Construction workers have been at the site this week.


Another retail project in Kankakee isn’t moving quite so well, but it appears to still be on the radar.

The long-discussed Ricky Rockets Fuel Center, proposed by owner Rick Heidner, still is in play, but a meeting set for Monday prior to the Kankakee City Council meeting might have a profound impact on whether this development ever moves forward.

The Ricky Rockets project was proposed in 2015. The city cleared the former 104,000-square-foot Kmart store in 2016 to aid the project. In 2017, site preparation work began but quickly stopped that fall and the development has been idle ever since.

Contacted this week, Heidner said the project basically is the same as where it was left in 2017.

On Monday, a pair of public hearings are set. The hearings are to answer any potential questions regarding the creation of two Tax Increment Financing districts.

One of the districts is for 545 acres in the east Kankakee area in and around the East Court Street’s Interstate 57 interchange. The potential TIF would include the Ricky Rockets site.

A TIF district is a public financing method for a designated area in which development is being sought. The creation of a TIF allows a municipality to collect increased property taxes from that designated area and set the money aside for development or improvements to the area.

Assuming the public hearings go well, the earliest the council could adopt legislation creating the districts would be May 20. A TIF district has a lifespan of 23 years.

The second TIF district is for a 293-acre site where the proposed Kankakee Riverfront project is slated.

Currently, the city has five active TIF districts.


The 1.4 million-square-foot Sears Logistics complex, 1600 Boudreau Road, Manteno, is up for lease, and ownership is willing to divide the location in segments as small as 250,000 square feet to attract potential renters.

Owned by KIN Properties, of Boca Raton, Fla., the complex had been the home for Innovel Solutions. Innovel relocated into the nearby Kmart Distribution business in Manteno.

At the recent Economic Alliance of Kankakee County meeting, Tim Nugent, president and CEO, said in a region short on prime warehouse space he is hopeful the site gains attention and tenants.

Constructed in 1990 with just more than 1 million square feet, the complex was expanded in 1996 and 1998 by a total of 375,000 square feet. In addition, the property has 263 loading docks.


Quick. What is the most popular holiday for candy sales?

Hint. It’s isn’t Easter. Halloween is No. 1, and Easter is second.

Regarding Easter, about $2 billion will be spent on candy this year. That figure almost seems hard to believe.

So, what is the most popular Easter candy? If you didn’t guess this, you should be ashamed. It’s the chocolate bunny.

According to a recent media report, 90 million chocolate bunnies are made for Easter. (By the way, 76 percent of respondents prefer to eat the ears first).

The second most popular candy are those yellow marshmallow Peeps (a favorite of mine as a child). About 700 million of these super sweet bunnies are sold. No. 3 is jelly beans with about 34 million pounds sold (including jelly belly).

No. 4 are Cadbury eggs.