Business

Fleet Farm to open two Iowa locations, one at Highway 100 intersection

Rendering of Fleet Farm in Edgewood Town Center in Cedar Rapids. (Fleet Farm)
Rendering of Fleet Farm in Edgewood Town Center in Cedar Rapids. (Fleet Farm)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Fleet Farm is slated to anchor a new development at the heart of Cedar Rapids’ westward expansion, the company announced today.

The massive general store would be the largest tenant in the proposed Edgewood Town Center commercial complex at the corner of Edgewood Road NE and Highway 100, near the new Highway 100 extension.

The intersection is already an up-and-coming commercial node with the $35 million Fountains mixed use development across the street and Peck’s Landing proposed on another corner.

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HIAWATHA - Joe Ahmann carries a set of blue folders from his office at his Hiawatha headquarters, some of them inches thick from the stacks of documents and drawings inside. He wears a quarter-zip sweater with the sleeves pushed up to just below the elbow.

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“As Fleet Farm continues to expand across the Midwest, we’re pleased with our customers’ response to our unique combination of products and services,” Tom Carrico, Fleet Farm’s vice president of real estate and construction, said in news release on Tuesday. “We are proud to be expanding our store presence in Iowa, creating jobs and being part of a compelling retail growth story.”

The Appleton, Wis.-based retailer announced the Cedar Rapids location along with a new location in Cedar Falls at the intersection of Highways 58 and 20.

The stores, which are already under construction and slated to open this fall, would be the fourth and fifth Fleet Farms in Iowa.

This is part of a major growth period for Fleet Farm, which also announced plans to “nearly double its store presence by 2023.”

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Fleet Farm, which formed in 1955 and has 42 stores in the Midwest, is a large general store with fishing, hunting and outdoor equipment, auto parts, farm and pet supplies, home improvement and household goods, clothing and footwear, toys and food, plus vehicle services, including gas, car wash and auto repair.

Each Fleet Farm will have a massive footprint — 190,000 square feet — and 200 employees for jobs in sales and as cashiers and automotive specialists, with hiring scheduled for closer to the store openings.

Carrico said the company heavily examined the areas through market research and site studies and worked to understand the unique development needs of each community before building. He also credited the “high-quality workforce” in Cedar Rapids.

In Cedar Rapids, Joe Ahmann had promised a new-to-the-market national retailer when he announced his $50 million Edgewood Town Center plaza, but the identity had not been publicly disclosed until now.

incentives

The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday signed off on code changes to allow a multimillion-dollar tax incentive package for Edgewood Town Center.

The council approved a resolution for an urban renewal plan for the Edgewood Town Center and approved the first of three votes on an ordinance relating to collection of tax increment financing within the urban renewal area.

“This is definitely positive news to start this project,” said Caleb Mason, a city economic development analyst.

Fleet Farm would fill about half of Edgewood Town Center, a 55-acre concept that also will have smaller retailers, offices and housing, It will be built out over the next five to 10 years.

“Edgewood Town Center has no shortage of interest,” said Chad Pelley, business development manager for Ahmann Companies. “This just adds validity to what we already knew. We have big things coming. ... There will be a lot of complementary uses — not competing. We have a mix of stuff coming into the area that really complements Peck’s and Fountains and the area as a whole.”

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Ahmann, under a corporation called New Buffalo Land Co., is seeking a 10-year, 50 percent tax break worth $5.6 million. During this period, $7.5 million in taxes still would be collected for public use under the city’s large site master plan economic development program.

RIVER RIDGE

Also Tuesday, the City Council authorized city staff to negotiate a tax incentive plan for River Ridge, also represented by Ahmann.

River Ridge would include three, three-story mixed-use buildings, including retail and office space on the first floor and 84 residential units on the second and third floors, and a relocated Randy Kuehl Honda dealership. The project is projected to create 100 jobs and retain 35 at the Honda dealership.

The proposed tax break over 10 years is estimated to be worth $3.8 million while the city still would collect an estimated $3.2 million.

“The good news is a lot of these developments generate sales tax and property taxes, and sales tax pays for Paving for Progress and pays for part of our flood wall construction,” City Council member Scott Olson said. “So, it is exciting to see these projects.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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