The first two years

-Submitted graphic This rendering shows what the new strip mall under construction at Corridor Plaza in Fort Dodge will look like. It will be on the east side of the property, close to South 29th Street. Teriyaki Madness and Clean Laundry are the first businesses prepared to move into the strip mall when it is completed late this year.

Editors note: Business leaders and local officials involved in the redevelopment of Crossroads mall into Corridor Plaza will present the latest information on the project in a series of occasional stories that will appear in The Messenger. This is the first of those stories.

In March 2020, Crossroads Plaza Development LLC bought the now former Crossroads Mall property for $3.3 million. Days later COVID-19 forced shopping malls to close their doors.

“Hindsight is always 20/20,” said BJ Stokesbary, spokesman for the Corridor Plaza redevelopment team. “But even with the roadblocks we’ve faced the past two years, we wouldn’t change the decision to begin this journey of redeveloping the mall to a new era of retail and community space where people come to shop, dine, and play.”

November 2019

The Messenger published an article titled “New Future Envisioned”, one of the first announcements of the offer to purchase the mall property from former owners, Namdar Realty Group, Mason Asset Management and CH Capital, all of Great Neck, New York.

Demolition of the former Sears store, which opened in 1964 and closed in 2015, began days later and was fully razed by the end of the month.

January 2020

The Fort Dodge City Council approved a development agreement with Crossroads Plaza Development, LLC. $18.2 million of funding is committed to the project via Tax Increment Financing (TIF).

What is tax increment financing (TIF)?

TIF helps cities and counties pay for public improvement projects or provide economic development grants or loans to private entities. Funds secured through TIF must be used within the specific designated area and cannot be used towards general operations of the city or county.

TIF funds, in simplified terms, are sourced from the increased property tax revenue created within the TIF area. This does not decrease the existing tax base, and once the TIF period ends, the “new” base will flow to the normal taxing bodies.

Mayor Matt Bemrich noted in the November 2019 article, “To me, this is absolutely the perfect piece of land to show how TIF is supposed to be used.”

March 2020

The $3.3 million purchase of the former Crossroads Mall closes on Friday, March 13, 2020. Four days later, Gov. Kim Reynolds limits social gatherings to 10 or fewer and temporarily closes numerous businesses including bars, restaurants, and casinos. Less than three weeks later, the closures extend to libraries, bowling alleys, and shopping malls.

“We really weren’t sure what to expect at that time,” said Stokesbary. “I think we all believed it would be over in a few weeks. It certainly caused some uncertainty.”

June 2020

The Fort Dodge Plan and Zoning Commission unanimously advances zoning change to allow for a multi-use site.

August 2020

The zoning change goes before the City Council and is approved with no debate.

October 2020

Demolition begins on the former JC Penney store.

December 2020

Announcement is made that 60,000 square feet of the mall will be repurposed into a strip mall instead of being demolished.

“At the time, we were facing what seemed like never-ending increases in new construction costs,” said Stokesbary. ”It was at that time we went back to the drawing board and said, ‘how can we make this affordable for tenants?’ Brick and mortar retail was facing nearly three quarters of a pandemic at this point. We made tough decisions and unfortunately lost some tenants who had been a part of the mall for decades. 2020 was a roller coaster, for sure.”

January 2021

In another effort to keep retailers in the city, a proposal for relocating businesses is developed.

February 2021

Fort Dodge City Council approves support for an application to be submitted for the Iowa Reinvestment District Program, seeking $18 million in state funding for the Corridor Plaza project.

March 2021

The forgivable loan program is approved by City Council for businesses leaving the mall and relocating in Fort Dodge. The council set aside $150,000 for the program. Criteria for the forgivable loan includes reopening within one year of moving. Half of the loan to be forgiven on the one-year anniversary of reopening and the second half on the second-year anniversary.

According to Vickie Reeck, the city’s community and economic development director, “Six former mall tenants took advantage of the Relocation Assistance Program provided by the city. Each business was eligible for up to $10,000 to help defray costs of moving and opening their business in a new location.”

April 2021

Fort Dodge receives notice that the city’s Iowa Reinvestment District application for $18 million in state funding was advanced for final consideration. Of the 10 applications submitted, six advance to the next stage which includes an in-person interview with Iowa Economic Development Authority staff and selection committee.

June 2021

A ribbon cutting officially opens the new sections of South 27th Street and Second Avenue South.

Fort Dodge is announced as one of six applicants to receive provisional funding as part of the Iowa Reinvestment District Program.

“Receiving $17 million of the $18 million we requested means we received the highest allocation percentage of all of the projects considered,” said Stokesbary.

Bemrich said, “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.”

July 2021

UnityPoint Express Clinic opened as a walk-in clinic. Leah Glasgo, president and CEO of UnityPoint Health – Fort Dodge said, “It’s a great honor and privilege to be a part of the growth in our community. We know the importance of that for us to be part of the economic engine of Fort Dodge and so we are honored to be here and be the first location opening up in the Corridor Plaza.”

September 2021

Discount Tire opens along Fifth Avenue South.

November 2021

Two new tenants opening in 2022 are announced – Teriyaki Madness and Clean Laundry.

The restaurant offers made-to-order teriyaki dishes featuring high-quality ingredients like all-natural marinated chicken, steak, salmon, or tofu with stir-fried vegetables and steamed white, brown or fried rice or Yakisoba noodles. The restaurant will offer in-store dining as well as delivery or curb-side pickup through their mobile app.

Catering options are also available which feature Teriyaki Bars – including your choice of one protein, two bases and stir-fry veggies. Bowl Packs and a la carte items are also available.

Clean Laundry has laundromat locations across the United States, including five Iowa locations – Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Iowa City, Ottumwa, and Waterloo – the company’s headquarters.

The chain now has 31 locations, with 10 more under lease like the one in Fort Dodge.

“We’ll hire a manager closer to opening, as well as five to seven employees,” said Phil Akin, owner of Clean Laundry.

The space will use brand new state of the art touch screen laundry equipment made in the United States. Machines will operate on debit cards, credit cards, or phone pay – allowing customers to see what machines are available from anywhere on their mobile device. The stores will also feature “hospital clean” facilities with charging stations for customers devices, vending equipment, and free Wi-Fi.

“Fort Dodge is a retail hub for north central and northwest Iowa,” said Chad Schaeffer, the city’s chief development officer. “For us to continue to be the retail hub, it’s so important to redevelop this site.”


“It’s been a series of roadblocks and triumphs,” said Stokesbary. “We’re happy to see successful moves for retailers like Riddle’s Jewelry, Sears Hometown, The Buckle and others. We hate to see some retailers leave our market. Ultimately, this project is a long-term investment in Fort Dodge, and we know the best is yet to come.”


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