Maquoketa council OKs agreement for grocery store

MAQUOKETA, Iowa — Maquoketa City Council members this week approved a development agreement for the construction of a 27,000-square-foot Hy-Vee Dollar Fresh store.

The agreement with BR2 Development LLC is for a store to be built on the south side of the city across from the new Citizens State Bank.

“We expect that it will bring more people to our community to patronize the stores,” said City Manager Gerald Smith. “I think it will be a complement to the other stores that are here.”

The project is estimated to cost about $5 million. It will receive up to $1.3 million in tax-increment- financing benefits during the 15-year agreement. This financing method incentivizes property owners to improve or renovate their buildings by giving them back a portion of the increased property taxes they would have incurred as a result of the improvements.

“We wanted to help see if there was a way to make this happen, and the developer said this (agreement) was necessary to help cover the gap,” said Nicolas Hockenberry, director of Jackson County Economic Alliance.

Dollar Fresh is part of the Hy-Vee grocery store corporation and offers a full selection of grocery items, a bakery section, a dollar section, ready-to-eat meals, clothing and other services.

In July, a Dollar Fresh store opened in Dyersville, becoming the eighth one in the Midwest, according to Store Manager Andy Hoppman. He said that number is expected to triple by next year.

In recent years, infrastructure costs have continued to climb, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the increases for building materials. In order for Maquoketa and Jackson County to continue growing, agreements like this are necessary, Hockenberry said.

“Over a handful of months, we have seen a 25% to 30% increase (in costs),” he said. “It is kind of quickening the pace of all development. In this case, it is not stopping a development from happening. It is just requiring more partnerships to make this development happen on the private and public side.”

Hockenberry said the developer hopes to have the store completed and ready for business by this time next year.

The new Dollar Fresh will be the third grocery option in the city, along with Walmart and Fareway.

David Heiar, senior advisor for Jackson County Economic Alliance, said the developer will move to finalize the lease agreement in the coming weeks.

“I anticipate that this would allow people living in Maquoketa to do more of their shopping in the community rather than out of town and hopefully will encourage others to come to Maquoketa for shopping,” he said.