A sweeping transformation of the Crossroads Mall site in Fort Dodge will begin this year under the guidance of a new Iowa-based owner.
The vacant wings of the mall that once were home to Younkers and JC Penney will be torn down this year.
A new retail structure facing Fifth Avenue South, the first of several planned for the site, will be built this year to house four to six stores.
And a new medical facility will be constructed on the north side of the property near First Avenue South.
Eventually, the rest of the mall will be torn down, and the site will be filled with a mixture of stores, multi-use buildings, an office building, a hotel and a roughly 10,000-square-foot green space.
All that will be undertaken by Crossroads Plaza Development LLC, of Ankeny, which bought the mall property from Namdar Realty Group, Mason Asset Management and CH Capital, all of Great Neck, New York, in a deal that closed Friday.
The purchase price was about $3.3 million.
”We want to make this the focal point of the community for retail,” said Ben Garrett, development director of DCI Group, one of the firms that makes up Crossroads Plaza Development LLC.
Mayor Matt Bemrich described the plans as a ”catalyst project.”
”I think this will be the same kind of catalyst for changing retail culture that the original mall was when it opened,” he said. ”This will bring back the regional hub draw that Fort Dodge has traditionally had.”
Dennis Plautz, the chief executive officer of the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, said retail is essential to the community’s status as a regional hub.
”It will be a draw for the region and a quality of life asset that we sorely need,” he said.
He said the plan, which consists of multiple buildings with different uses instead of one big enclosed mall, is ”characteristic and symptomatic” of the retail developments being created in trade areas similar in size to Fort Dodge.
The new owner has proposed eight retail buildings for the site. Two of those buildings will be large ones that will be home to four to six stores.
Also planned are seven mixed-use buildings that will have stores or offices on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.
There will also be an office building, a hotel, a medical facility and a gas station.
A new section of South 27th Street will go through the site.
The entire complex will be called Corridor Plaza.
Some demolition and construction is planned for the site this year.
The former Younkers and JC Penney stores will be coming down this year, according to BJ Stokesbary, a partner in ATI Group, which is also part of Crossroads Plaza Development LLC.
The former Sears store was demolished in November.
Stokesbary said the first retail building to be constructed will go up this year east of the car wash that faces South 25th Street. The building will face south.
Stokesbary said a medical facility will be built this year along First Avenue South between 27th and 29th streets.
The Fort Dodge City Council has committed up to $18.2 million in aid to the developer. That money would reimburse the company for property acquisition, demolition and infrastructure improvements.
Of that total, up to $10 million would be in the form of a grant, while up to $8.2 million would be in the form of a loan. The money will come from tax increment financing, not the general fund that pays for police and fire protection., plus dozens of other government functions. Tax increment financing occurs when increased property tax revenue from a designated area is set aside to be reinvested in that area.
Plautz said the project would not happen without the help of the city government.
He added that the street, storm sewer, water main and sanitary sewer upgrades the city has completed in the mall area recently had ”a big impact on this development, the willingness to do this development.”