Interchange 308 property sold

Four lots of vacant property directly west of Tractor Supply Co. near the Kankakee Walmart Supercenter have been purchased by Manteno businessman Warren Ouwenga. The lots, totaling 7.9 acres, have been undeveloped since the Walmart store opened there in March 2008.

KANKAKEE — The four lots of vacant property, which comprise some 7.9 acres between the Tractor Supply store and the Taco Bell/Kentucky Fried Chicken businesses, have been sold to a single buyer.

Manteno businessman Warren Ouwenga, who most recently had been a key player in the Manteno-based Urban Farmer pizza crust manufacturing business, has purchased the property on what he described as “100 percent speculation.”

The south Kankakee property, which is immediately southwest of the Walmart Supercenter store, has been undeveloped since the Walmart store opened there in March 2008.

The purchase included four separate lots, each at about 2 acres. Ouwenga declined to reveal purchase details.

One of the region’s top businessmen, Ouwenga had been eyeing the property for about six months before deciding to buy the land, which fronts RiverStone Parkway on its south side.

“This is an area with some real potential. There is interest here,” he said.

Ouwenga noted agreements were put into place when Walmart committed to developing its property and the key one was restrictions on what types of developments could be placed in this area.

Basically, Walmart has a significant voice in what types of retail can locate in the area, Ouwenga noted. He said that fact means the lots more than likely would be best suited for office or small business development.

He said that matter did not bother him when considering the purchase because it wouldn’t be likely a major retail competitor wouldn’t locate directly across the parking lot from Walmart.

He said he likely will not begin actively marketing the property for at least a few months. He believes the location will draw interest.

“You never know,” he said. “There are so many opportunities which pop up.”

Ouwenga started the Urban Farmer business in 2013 and sold it to California-based Paine Schwartz Partners in December 2020.

Lee Provost, an award-winning reporter, has been writing local news stories for The Daily Journal since 1988. He is a lifelong resident of the region. Provost can be reached at lprovost@daily-journal.com.