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FD council to consider help for Sears store owner

TIF may be used for demolition

The Fort Dodge City Council is expected to take a step toward providing some financial help for the potential demolition of the former Sears store at Crossroads Mall.

During its meeting Monday, the council will consider placing the Sears site into the Center City and Industrial Park Urban Renewal Areas. Once it’s included in that zone, the council can use tax increment financing to support projects at the site.

A proposal discussed by the council on May 20 would use $397,595 in tax increment financing to reimburse property owner Blessing Enterprises, of St. Charles, Missouri, for demolishing the Sears building.

The council will discuss the matter again when it meets at 6 p.m. Monday in the Municipal Building, 819 First Ave. S.

The Sears store at 307 S. 25th St. opened in 1964 and closed in January 2015.

The building appears to be a part of Crossroads Mall, but it is a separate structure with a different owner.

Earlier this year, representatives of Blessing Enterprises approached city officials with a proposal for a $1.75 million development for 1.5 acres of the 6.5-acre Sears site. The remaining five acres would be available for future retail development.

Details of the proposed new development have not been made public.

The cost of demolishing the existing store has been estimated at $397,595.

That money would come from tax increment financing, which occurs when increased property tax revenue from a given area is set aside to be reinvested in that area.

Mayor Matt Bemrich said previously that in the case of the Sears store, Blessing Enterprises would pay for the demolition. Then after the new development is completed, the city would use increased property tax revenue from it to reimburse Blessing Enterprises over a period of years for its demolition costs. That money would only be paid if a new development generates additional tax revenue.

”If they don’t generate any new tax revenue, they can’t collect any money,” he said during the May 20 council meeting.

During the May 20 meeting, the council declared its intent to negotiate a development agreement with Blessing Enterprises.

Also on the agenda

The former Sears store isn’t the only thing on the agenda for the Fort Dodge City Council on Monday.

Also on Monday, the council will:

• Move to borrow $16 million from the state low-interest loan program for sanitary sewer improvements.

• Establish a new Public Art Commission to place, maintain and enhance artworks.

• Restructure the Fire Department by adding another lieutenant’s position to each shift.

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