Project Spotlights



At Austin Engineering, we sometimes get the chance to work on some exciting projects. And while not a job not entirely out of the ordinary, our development of several Portillo’s restaurants has been noteworthy for us. So, in this month’s Project Spotlight, we’ll be revisiting our work done on the Portillo’s out of Springfield, IL and Davenport, IA.

Portillo’s in Springfield

On the site of an old Walgreens, Austin Engineering was approached about designing the property for a new Portillo’s. If you aren’t familiar with Portillo’s, it’s a highly popular restaurant chain out of Chicago, IL, specializing in hot dogs, burgers, and their famous “chocolate cake shake.”

Of course, this wasn’t our first time helping with the development of a Portillo’s restaurant (more on that later), so we got to work right away. The unique part in designing the property for Portillo’s is the drive-through. Different towns and commercial locations often have set requirements that must be met when creating drive-through space. And one such challenge we ran into at the start was fitting in a drive-through that could meet customer demands, city requirements and fit within the existing pavement space of the previous Walgreens. Overall, the project ended with us working with the existing pavement, overlaying new areas, and reconfiguring some perimeter parking lots.

Portillo’s in Davenport

Before working in Springfield, we first developed a new location for Portillo’s in Davenport, IA. While many of the Portillo’s throughout the Midwest and other parts of the country share the same design, this Davenport location was unique for other reasons.

At Portillo’s location, we had to design and create a system to manage stormwater flooding best. With stormwater management, we assess the site to determine the Best Management Practice available to us. And after considering the amount of space available and factoring in public safety, an underground detention system was deemed the best solution. An underground detention system works to prevent potential flooding safely and efficiently while also enhancing green infrastructure. As a result, investment in green infrastructure can boost the local economy and improve public health.

How Opportunities are Made Available

Overall, both Portillo’s projects were a part of our standard commercial developments. However, with as big a name as Portillo’s to work with, it is interesting to see how these partnership opportunities are made available. And for us, it was a matter of connecting with Portillo’s through tenants or development managers. Having worked with as many companies as Austin Engineering has, we are often approached by contractors who have our services recommended to them.

Particularly with the Davenport location, Portillo’s was a part of a larger, five-lot commercial development. We transformed what was once nine single-family homes on an old farm road and made it into a busy and popular commercial subdivision. And the developer of that subdivision had Portillo’s as a tenant, who was the anchor for the entire project. Thus, we had the opportunity to design and build the property for Portillo’s and four other commercial lots.

Working from Anywhere

Our Portillo’s projects are also prime examples of Austin Engineering’s ability to work just about anywhere. While we do have an office in Davenport, we don’t for Springfield. However, this doesn’t impede our ability to assist our clients in the least bit. In the states we are licensed in, we possess the experience, skills and technology to take any development to full project permit. In addition to licensure at our offices in Illinois and Iowa, we are also licensed in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas and Wisconsin.

Stay Tuned for More

While we’re always excited to partner with recognizable brands like Portillo’s, Austin Engineering has assisted clients of small businesses, local commercial developments and more. Our civil engineering, land surveying and landscape design services are available for developments of all sizes. And in our next Project Spotlight, we’ll discuss the incredible transformation of Sankoty Lakes Resort and Retreat out of Spring Bay, IL.

If interested in Austin Engineering’s work and how we can best serve your latest project, call us today at 309-204-0694. Also, our corporate office is located at 311 SW Water St, Ste 215, Peoria, IL 61602.