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Hotel proposed at site of former Zio’s 

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A five-story Home2 Suites by Hilton is planned at the 1.8-acre site of the former Zio’s Italian Kitchen at 1249 E. Kingsley St. in south Springfield, a project official told Springfield City Council at its meeting last night. 

Council held a public hearing on a final development plan for the site, proposed by East Wichita Development LLC. Council plans to vote on the measure at its next regular meeting Jan. 8. The Planning & Zoning Commission and city staff recommend approval.  

Springfield Senior Planner Daniel Neal said a planned development was approved for the site in 1982, and a 1997 amendment to the plan required any development within the area to come to council for approval. 

Representing the property’s owners was architect Geoffrey Butler. 

“This is an interesting project in that all of the site development’s done. We just wipe out the Zio’s and plunk a hotel right down there in the middle of it. Don’t have to hardly do much,” he said. 

The project site, which is for a 117-room extended stay hotel, is near the intersection of National Avenue and James River Freeway. 

A Twin Peaks sports bar and restaurant had been planned at the Zio's site, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Officials with the Dallas-based chain previously did not respond to requests for comment about the organization's plans in the city.  

Rezoning hearings 
Council held three public hearings for rezonings at its meeting last night, with votes set for Jan. 8. 

On the northeast side of the city, at property just north of the newly opened Buc-ee’s travel center, applicant Kurt Wouk seeks to rezone 5.5 acres at 5298 E. Farm Road 104 to highway commercial from a former Greene County designation of suburban residential with a conditional overlay. The property was annexed by council on Nov. 20. 

Butler represented the property owner for this development, too, and told council they had bought the property specifically to put a recreational vehicle park in adjacent to Buc-ee’s. 

“Of course, Buc-ee’s is the magnet,” he said, adding, “I guess it’s another 500 miles to the next one, so, spend a night or so and then go on.” 

He added that people who come to Buc-ee’s may want to stick around and sample Springfield. 

He said a survey has not been done yet, but it is believed the property can accommodate 25-30 pad sites for RVs. 

A proposed rezoning of less than an acre at 2555 N. Neergard Ave. in northeast Springfield would be to industrial commercial from general manufacturing with a conditional overlay. The applicant is Barbara Lorenz. 

Neal said the applicant would like to sell used automobiles on the site. 

The other proposed rezoning is for a long, narrow strip of property measuring 1.7 acres at 1650 S. Ingram Mill Road. The new designation would be for a commercial service district from general retail with a conditional overlay. 

Applicant J&M Tillman LLC seeks to build a commercial development, according to the explanation of the bill. 

Michael Sparlin, senior city planner, said the property, located near the intersection of Sunshine Street and U.S. Highway 65, is about 900 feet in width and 90 feet in depth, and its development potential is limited, given its unusual shape. Retail sales would be prohibited at the site. 

Stephanie Ireland of Ireland Architects Inc. said the developer has had success in similar property types with buildings that consist of an overhead door, office and business area. She gave the example of a handyman or handywoman business, a key shop or a pest control business – “Something where retail’s not necessary,” she said, noting there is not much room for parking on the site. 

Councilmember Abe McGull said he was surprised such a small strip of land could be utilized, but he added, “You know what? Maximize our potential. If somebody wants to fulfill their dream in that location, go ahead.” 

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