A ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning in Dubuque marked the official start of construction on a credit union’s three-story, 30,000-square-foot building.
Collins Community Credit Union is building at 255 John F. Kennedy Road, the former site of Shopko. The credit union already has a Dubuque branch at 4855 Asbury Road.
The threat of rain did not stop about 40 people from gathering for the groundbreaking.
“Dubuque has been a phenomenal partner and community since the very beginning of our relationship,” said Collins President and CEO Stefanie Rupert. “We feel that our visions align.”
The Shopko store at the site closed in the summer of 2019, and the building was demolished earlier this year.
Collins Community Credit Union, founded in 1940, has branch locations in six Iowa cities with plans in the works to also open in Ames and Iowa City.
Rupert said the credit union will occupy the first floor of the new Dubuque building, while the top two stories can be rented out by other businesses. Collins will add 10 new employees at the location to start.
“But that will be dependent on our growth and will grow as we grow,” Rupert said.
Tim Conlon, CEO of Conlon Construction, said the building’s design is being finished, and portions of the project are out for bid.
“We plan on starting in July and finishing sometime in late spring of 2023,” he said.
John Lewis, Collins senior vice president of information technology and facilities, said the current cost estimate for the new building is about $8 million, though more work might need to be done before other tenants move in.
“None of the space is leased yet,” he said. “In the floor plans, we have open spaces (on the second and third floor). We’re waiting until we know what they want.”
Marsha Schulte, Collins board chair, said she was happy to not only see the credit union expand in Dubuque but also provide space for other businesses to grow as well.
“It’s nice to see the community continue to evolve and grow,” she said.
Molly Grover, president and CEO of Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce, told the crowd at the groundbreaking that the event symbolized growth and an investment in the future of the community.
“We’re laying the dirt for their foundation in Dubuque,” she said.
Rupert also noted the opportunity for growth presented by this project and said the credit union wants to be a strong partner with Dubuque and its businesses.
“Our strategies align so much with all of yours to attract and retain, in your case, neighbors, and in ours, members,” she said. “… This is just the beginning. It will be something that, for the businesses within it, will extend an opportunity for those businesses to thrive.”
Rick Dickinson, president and CEO of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., said the high-traffic location of the future building will be a benefit to both Collins and future businesses moving into the space.
“It’s a great move and a great investment for Dubuque in the long term,” he said.
Dickinson talked about GDDC’s 2027 capital campaign, which includes goals of raising Dubuque County’s population and workforce. He said Collins also is committed to goals focusing on bettering the entire population of the community.
“It’s a sign of a small town to tell you directions based on prior knowledge of where things are at,” Dickinson added. “… By that same logic, people would say, ‘Oh, that’s next to where Shopko used to be.’ Going forward, it’s going to be, ‘That’s by where Collins Community Credit Union is.'”