It’s been several years in the making, but the Dunkin’ Donuts at 2730 S. Sixth St. is finally preparing to open. In April 2017, SBJ reported that Nick Bhatt, owner of the existing Dunkin’ Donuts franchise at 102 Chatham Rd. in Springfield, was seeking approval to develop an outlot in the Habitat for Humanity parking lot.

The proposed project had to be reviewed by the Springfield-Sangamon County Regional Planning Commission, along with the Illinois Department of Transportation, and Bhatt said much of the delay was the result of negotiations with IDOT over the Sixth Street entrance to the property. “IDOT wanted to take that entrance, but Dunkin’ wouldn’t have approved us to go into the facility,” he said. “We ended up keeping the same curb cut instead of subdividing the property.”

Bhatt’s company, Shiva Developments, filed permits in August 2017 to begin construction on the 5,200-square-foot building, which is anchored by Dunkin’ Donuts but includes additional retail space available for lease.

“We are currently marketing the excess space, which is about 3000 square feet,” said Blake Pryor, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Commercial in Springfield. He noted that the suite may end up being divided into two bays and said Bhatt was also open to building out the space for a tenant.

Joyner Construction Services served as the general contractor for the project. Owner Corky Joyner said, “It’s a great high traffic and very visible location. One of the things Dunkin’ Donuts looks for is morning traffic, and this is on the right side of the road for lots of people coming to town along I-55 and the South Sixth St. corridor.”

Joyner also noted that the store is one of the first new prototypes unveiled by Dunkin’ Donuts, which Bhatt described as “a really cool inside build-out” but said that also led to some delays in the project. “The original permits were for the old design, so when Dunkin’ came out with the NextGen prototype we had to go back and redo the architectural drawings and get more permits,” Bhatt explained.

Bhatt said he now hopes to have the store open by the second week of July and is in the process of hiring a store manager, along with shift leaders, crew members and bakers. “We’re completely done with the construction, just waiting on signage and training the crew members.”

In addition to the two Springfield locations, Bhatt is the franchisee for the Dunkin’ Donuts in Jacksonville and Lincoln, along with multiple locations in California. He also said he has not ruled out additional expansion. “We’ll be looking for one more location in Springfield or central Illinois,” Bhatt said.