New Vernon Hills Panda Express on hold pending legal challenge from Hobby Lobby

Updated 12/12/2019 4:50 PM

Work on the new Panda Express at Hawthorn Village Commons in Vernon Hills is on hold until at least February as a result of legal action initiated by the nearby Hobby Lobby store.

A Lake County judge has ordered construction halted at the fast-food Chinese eatery on Route 60 until a Feb. 10 hearing between lawyers representing Hobby Lobby and NARE, the landlord of the Hawthorn Village Commons.


Hobby Lobby's lawyers wrote in a complaint filed in Lake County court this month that the construction "deprives Hobby Lobby of much needed parking," and that the new building will obstruct the big box store from the view of drivers on Route 60.

Hobby Lobby attorney Charles Valente said Thursday that his client believes the court entered an appropriate order to postpone construction until the matter can be resolved.

"We're pleased with the result and will continue pursuing (Hobby Lobby's) rights," Valente said.

Hawthorn Village Commons attorney Thomas M. Paris could not be reached for comment Thursday.

According to Hobby Lobby's complaint, the store's lease with NARE states that the landlord shall not permit any obstruction in the parking lot except on the areas reserved for future expansion. Hobby Lobby argues that the Panda Express is not in one of those designated areas.

If the Panda Express is built, it will be the third one in Vernon Hills.

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