Building momentum

New streets in Corridor Plaza complex open

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
Members of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, Fort Dodge city officials and representatives of Corridor Plaza developers ATI Group and DCI Group held a ribbon-cutting event to celebrate the official opening of two new streets running through the former Crossroads Mall property, South 27th Street and Second Avenue South.

Development on the first phase of the Corridor Plaza project at the former Crossroads Mall is nearly complete after the ribbon cutting officially opening the new sections of South 27th Street and Second Avenue South on Thursday afternoon.

The first phase of the project included demolition of the north wing of the mall, construction of the utilities and the streets and the lots adjacent to First Avenue South and Second Avenue South, said Chad Schaeffer, chief development officer for the City of Fort Dodge.

Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, of Ankeny, purchased the Crossroads Mall in early 2020 for $3.3 million. The developer is making a sweeping transformation of the site, which has included demolition of the former J.C. Penney store, demolition of the former Sears store and construction of a new UnityPoint Health – Clinic Express.. There are development plans for further demolition of the former mall and construction of multi-use buildings, retail space, an office building, a hotel, an outdoor entertainment area and more.

Members of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, city leaders and representatives from the developers attended the ribbon cutting on Thursday. The ribbon cutting took place at the intersection of Second Avenue South and South 27th Street.

“It’s great to kind of see the fruits of our labor,” said BJ Stokesbary, a developer with the ATI Group, one of the firms that makes up Crossroads Plaza Development LLC.

Stokesbary said developing a project of this scale — on a nearly 32-acre site — in a city the size of Fort Dodge is a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” and it’s taken months and months of preparation.

“We don’t take that lightly and we want to do it right, so there’s a lot of planning that goes in,” he said.

Having this part of the project near completion is promising for the project’s momentum, Stokesbary said.

This first phase of the project covered the northern third of the site, and work on the second phase will start soon in the southern third of the site.

“2021 is going to be a big year for the project and definitely a lot of announcements,” Stokesbary said.

Construction is expected to start this fall on the portion of South 27th Street that runs on the south side of the site, between Kay Jewelers and Dunkin Donuts, Schaeffer said. An east-west street will also be built just north of Applebees and Burger King, and will be Third Avenue South.

The next phase also includes saving a portion of the eastern wing of the mall that once housed the Younkers department store to be converted into a strip center that would provide an opportunity for current mall tenants to move before the remainder of the mall is demolished, Schaeffer said.

“We’re just excited to complete phase 1 and we’re continuing to have a good relationship with the developer as we move onto phase 2 and we’re excited about the opportunities,” he said.

Next Friday, the developers and the city should learn if the project was awarded an $18 million grant requested from the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Iowa Reinvestment District Project, funded by sales tax.

“We’ve got a lot of great momentum now and I think that’s just going to add fuel to the fire,” Stokesbary said. “The full $18 million that we’re asking for is just going to bring amazing things to Fort Dodge.”


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