Washington's JC Penney

A developer has submitted plans to build a new strip mall in portions of the parking lot at JC Penney's in Washington. The new strip mall, which have three retail locations and a restaurant, is expected to include a Jimmy John's. 

Plans for the strip mall were discussed at Monday's meeting of the Washington’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

Developer could receive building permits as soon as Tuesday

A new strip mall that would house a restaurant and three retail locations is planned for one of the Washington’s longstanding shopping centers.

The proposed strip mall would be built in front of J.C. Penney, 5886 Highway 100, which first opened as a Walmart shopping center decades ago. 

Washington Community and Economic Development Director Sal Maniaci said he welcomed the developer’s plans for a strip mall. 

“I’m definitely still encouraged to see that type of brick-and-mortar retail is still viable in our area,” Maniaci said. “We’ve seen trends across the nation that brick-and-mortar has been slowing down, but I think the growth that we are seeing in residential (developments shows) that developers and property owners are seeing the potential for commercial development as well.”

The new strip mall would be located on the north end of the property, according to a preliminary plat of the property shared at Monday’s meeting of the Washington Planning and Zoning Commission. 

At approximately 6,272 square feet, the building would be built on nine-tenths of an acre. 

The proposed restaurant, which would have a two-lane drive-thru, would account for 1,680 square feet of the space. The three retail locations would account for the remaining space. 

Torrey Woodcock, of Bourbon, who is the franchise owner of Jimmy John’s in Washington, Union, Sullivan and Rolla, was present for the meeting. His name is listed as the developer behind the project, along with Penney Property Sub Holdings LLC. Also at the meeting was Kris Wolfe, an engineer with Wunderlich Surveying & Engineering. 

Once completed, the strip mall will add 45 parking spaces to the shopping center and will help ensure proper traffic flow, according to Maniaci. 

“In fact, we believe that this proposed development and the added traffic it will bring is actually a better situation than what we currently have there,” Maniaci said. He said motorists don’t follow traffic patterns and signage in the current configuration of the parking lot. 

“It is not very clear on where to go. You have some traffic that drives right across here, and other cars that cut across there,” Maniaci said. 

Planning and Zoning Commissioner Carolyn Witt summarized the traffic situation there in three words: “It’s a zoo.”

She and other members of the commission voted unanimously to approve the preliminary plat and to refer the matter to the Washington City Council for further review. If approved Monday by the council, Woodcock could seek a building permit as early as Tuesday, Sept. 21.