JOLIET – The owner of Basinger’s Pharmacy is making plans for a new building on Jefferson Street. The new store would be built across the street from the Marycrest Shopping Center, where Basinger’s currently is located.
The plan is to tear down the Senor Tequila restaurant that is on the site now and construct a 13,746-square-foot building that would house Basinger’s and a laundromat.
Basinger’s owner, Harish Bhatt, said he is targeting August 2018 for the opening, but the schedule depends on zoning approval from the city.
“If I break ground before winter, I can get going,” Bhatt said Friday.
The new store will be larger than the 8,000-square-foot space Basinger’s has in Marycrest, providing more room for a growing medical supply business, Bhatt said.
“It’s going to be a much more customer-friendly store,” he said. “We’re going to have a lot more space to display the equipment. People can see what they can use.”
The larger store will provide space to display hospital beds, Bhatt said. The store also will expand its general merchandise business and add a liquor department, which Bhatt said will help him compete with other drug stores that sell liquor.
The future site at 2219 W. Jefferson St. is zoned for business. But Bhatt is seeking variances that would reduce the required parking spaces from 44 to 36. He also wants to reduce the required landscaping area for the site.
Bhatt also is seeking an off-premise sign for the Star Inn Motel, located behind the Senor Tequila restaurant. Drawings show a sign that would include Basinger’s name on top and the Star Inn Motel below.
The site now has two Star Inn Motel signs along Jefferson Street. One marking the entrance to the Star Inn Motel is leaning. The variance requests are on the Sept. 21 agenda for the Zoning Board of Appeals.
City Planner Jim Torri said staff has been working with Basinger’s for about two years on plans for the store. He called it “encouraging” that the project has reached the point that it is going to the zoning board.
In March, the City Council approved a liquor license for the future store.
Bhatt said Basinger’s has been in business for 70 years, and he is the third owner. He acquired the business in 1985. Basinger’s has seven pharmacies in Joliet. The other pharmacies are located inside medical buildings. The Marycrest location is the only stand-alone store.