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‘A great day for Fort Dodge’

$17M state grant awarded for mall project

-Submitted image
This water feature would be near the proposed pavilion and plaza area at Corridor Plaza. This image shows the view looking west toward the plaza and pavilion. The plaza would have pickleball courts, a picnic shelter and a stage.

The city of Fort Dodge was awarded a $17 million state grant Friday that will help pay for part of the redevelopment of the Crossroads Mall site into a diversified retail, service and entertainment area called Corridor Plaza.

The state money is specifically for creating a public plaza and a pavilion near the South 25th Street side of the property. The developer and local leaders have described the plaza and pavilion as a dynamic center of activity for entertainment, dining and shopping.

”We are super excited,” BJ Stokesbary, a spokesman for Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, the Ankeny company that is redeveloping the mall, said Friday afternoon.

”It takes it from a project that is a great concept and a great idea for Fort Dodge to something that will become reality,” he said. ”Now that we know we have the funding we can really get down to the nitty-gritty details.”

Mayor Matt Bemrich said the grant award made Friday ”a great day for Fort Dodge.”

”We’ve seen our retail environment evolve and we’re working to adapt to that and I think the plan that we put forward was recognized at the state level today,” he said.

As the project moves forward residents are ”going to see some new, fun spaces for them to use and enjoy,” he said.

Advancing the project will also help the community recruit more retailers, according to Bemrich.

In February, the City Council applied for an $18 million grant from the Iowa Reinvestment District Program offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

In April local officials learned that the state agency had advanced the application for final consideration.

In securing $17 million out of a requested $18 million, the local project received more of its requested amount than any of the other five projects awarded funds Friday.. Stokesbary said it received the ”highest allocation percentage.”

”Obviously, a lot of long hours went into the application,” Stokesbary said. ”We appreciate everyone’s work on the application We’re super grateful.”

The grant announced Friday is technically a provisional award, with a final decision to be made in February 2022. But because the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s staff recommended a $17 million grant and the authority’s board provisionally approved it on Friday, local leaders and the developer are fully confident the money will be awarded.

The proposed pavilion and plaza would be on the west side of the mall property, behind Sparkle Car Wash, Central Financial Group and Great Western Bank.

The south end of the pavilion building would have a handful of spaces for restaurants, coffee shops or brew pubs.

The north half of the building would have more open space and overhead doors..

The plaza would be an outdoor public space and entertainment area just north of the pavilion. The concept for it includes pickleball courts, picnic shelters, and a raised and partially covered stage. A fountain or other water feature would be nearby.

Stokesbary said the grant award ”accelerates the entire project” at the mall.

He said half of the remaining mall building and half of the Younkers store will be torn down this year.

What will remain of the mall will come down next year, he said. Construction of the pavilion and plaza will begin in late 2022.

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