Portillo's heading to Peoria, a few questions remain - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Portillo's heading to Peoria, a few questions remain

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PEORIA, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

Portillo's is coming to Peoria next year,  across from Northwoods Mall, but it comes with a price.

It could add additional traffic to an already congested location and a possible increase in the sales tax.

Still, it has people excited, including one nearby business owner.

The section of sterling avenue in front of West Lake shopping center is already busy, but the intersection are about to get even busier, as Chicago-based restaurant Portillos looks to come to town.

"When I found out about it, immediately, I was very excited, said Jodie Kemp, owner of Peoria Hair Studios.

Kemp's business is near the future location of Portillos.

"I have customers that I talk to daily and we all travel to Chicago usually to go to it," said Kemp.

However, Kemp is excited from a business perspective.

"I just think it's great for the area," said Kemp. "We really need this. We need something to boost this area."

While the restaurant is getting a lot of attention, a few questions still remain, including how traffic will be affected.

However, Kemp doesn't think it will be an issue.

Kemp said, "if they plan the traffic right I think it will be fine traffic-wise. There are so many entrances to this area that people can come from different directions."

Also in question, whether or not a city ordinance will be enacted placing an additional 1% tax on top of the existing sales tax at the restaurant.

The developer William Torchia is asking the city to rule that property as a Special Service Area so he can get the additional revenue as reimbursement for the $1.3 million he says he spent purchasing the site and preparing it for construction.

The city will discuss the proposed tax Tuesday.

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