US Cellular to move and expand
JANESVILLE A new U.S. Cellular regional center—the largest in the state—should open before the holiday season at the former site of Arby's Restaurant on Milton Avenue, according to city and company officials.
Arby's last spring moved up the street into the vacant Del Taco near Menards.
The new U.S. Cellular store will be developed by Marwood Corp. and will be larger than the phone company's facility in the Janesville Plaza, 2431 Milton Ave.
A company official described the new store as the only full-sized "corporate store" between Madison and Rockford, Ill. The store will hire more employees and serve more customers than the current facility, which will be closed. It also will offer classroom training for customers and employees, said Glen Todd, who works in the U.S. Cellular real estate and facilities for.
The development will result in improved traffic flow in the area, said Duane Cherek, Janesville city planning services manager.
As part of the development deal, Marwood will give the city an easement behind Kwik Trip so the city can build a road to connect to the Menards roundabout.
Marwood also agreed to improve the access road between Kwik Trip and the new development.
Some details still need to be worked out, Cherek said.
The old Arby's building will be razed. The new, 5,872-square-foot U.S. Cellular building on about one acre will be designed to accommodate multiple tenants, although the phone company plans to occupy the entire space. The current U.S. Cellular store is 4,555 square feet.
The plan shows about 51 parking stalls, more than code allows but requested by U.S. Cellular.
"Capital investment is being made to build a store that can provide a better customer experience for our current customer base and also be able to support the new business that we want to generate at this site," Todd wrote in a letter.
He called the new facility a "flagship store."
Marwood will widen by about eight feet the access road located between Kwik Trip and the future development.
That access road is heavily used during peak traffic hours because it provides a connection between the Target shopping plaza and Milton Avenue, Cherek said. Turn lanes into adjoining commercial properties and designated left- and right-turn lanes will be added.
The site plan shows a future cross connection to the neighboring Perkins Restaurant & Bakery to the south if the public frontage road in front of Kwik trip is vacated.
The frontage road has been a source of contention between the city and Marwood, and the disagreement ended up in Rock County Court. The city's plan commission had agreed to extend the frontage road along Milton Avenue to serve a vacant lot north of Kwik Trip, but Marwood protested. The court and the city's zoning board of appeals upheld the plan commission's decision. By that time, the option to develop vacant property—plans were to build another gas station—had expired.
As part of the U.S. Cellular development, Marwood will give the city an easement across Marwood property behind Kwik Trip to connect to the Menards roundabout, something Marwood resisted in the past.
The connection to the roundabout should relieve some of the congestion at the access road because motorists will have a second route to Milton Avenue, Cherek said.