Making it new again

Lt. Gov. Gregg gets update on Corridor Plaza work

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, center, listens as BJ Stokesbary, a representative of Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, left, explains how the building which once housed the Younkers store and part of Crossroads Mall will be redeveloped to house four new stores. Kelly Halsted, the economic development director of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, and Fort Dodge City Councilwoman Lydia Schuur are in the background. Gregg visited the Corridor Plaza project Tuesday morning as part of his annual tour of all 99 Iowa counties.

A towering pile of crushed rock is the most obvious thing someone will notice while going past Corridor Plaza in Fort Dodge. Machinery, fencing and other signs of construction also fill part of the 30-acre site.

The entire property will look different by this time next year, according to a representative of the firm that is redeveloping the former Crossroads Mall site.

BJ Stokesbary said Tuesday that Hy-Vee has purchased land on the east side of the site for a Fast & Fresh convenience store.

He added that Crossroads Plaza Development LLC is in talks with four stores to fill the former Younkers wing, which is the last piece of the old mall that is still standing.

Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg learned about those developments Tuesday morning when he met with a handful of local leaders at Corridor Plaza as part of his annual tour of all Iowa counties.

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
BJ Stokesbary, left, a representative of Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, shows Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg an image of what the redeveloped site of the former Crossroads Mall will look like. Gregg visited the site Tuesday morning.

Chad Schaeffer, the city’s chief development officer, described how Crossroads Mall, like so many other big enclosed malls across the country, gradually dwindled. The result, he said, was a massive spot in the middle of Fort Dodge that wasn’t being used to its fullest capacity.

“We want this place to be the economic engine again,” he said.

Stokesbary said when his firm, based in Ankeny, finally closed its purchase of the mall in early 2020 just 30 percent of its 300,000 square feet were occupied.

Since then, most of the mall, including former anchor stores JCPenney and Sears, were demolished.

A new section of Second Avenue South was built across the northern end of the property. Discount Tire, UnityPoint Clinic Express and Tidal Wave Auto Spa built new facilities, while a strip mall is home to Teriyaki Madness, Clean Laundry and a T-Mobile phone store. There is room for two more businesses in the strip mall.

- Messenger photo by Bill Shea
Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg, left, talks with BJ Stokesbary, center, of Crossroads Plaza Development LLC; and Chad Schaeffer, the chief development officer for the city of Fort Dodge, about the redevelopment of the former Crossroads Mall site.

The developer and the city have received a $17 million award from a new state reinvestment program. That award, to be funded by future sales tax revenues to be generated at the site, is leveraging a project estimated to cost $90 million.

“It seems like there’s a lot that’s already happening,’ Gregg said.

There’s more to come in the near future, according to Stokesbary.

He said Hy-Vee has purchased land on the South 29th Street side of the site for one of its Fast & Fresh convenience stores. It will be across the street from the Hy-Vee supermarket at 115 S. 29th St.

A Hy-Vee spokeswoman did not return a call seeking comment on the new store Tuesday.

Stokesbary said his firm is in the “final push” to secure four stores to go into the former Younkers wing of the mall. He would not name the businesses involved, but he said they are a sporting goods store, a shoe store, a clothing store and a general merchandise store.

He said the building will get a new exterior shell that will look like the facade of the nearby strip mall.

“It will look way more modern,” he said.

At the end of his visit, Gregg said he was very optimistic about the future of the site.

“I am glad to hear plans to make something old new again,” he said.

He said the use of the $17 million state award to drive a $90 million investment could be an example for other communities in the state.


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