QUINCY — Quincy Mayor Mike Troup says the ShopKo property at 3200 Broadway has been sold, and negotiations are nearly complete for a big box retailer willing to spend $20 million to renovate and occupy the former Kmart building at 3701 Broadway.
The City Council voted in late November to subdivide the ShopKo lot into two parcels, creating the possibility for new commercial use.
“I don’t know who bought it, but (the ShopKo building) has been sold,” Troup said. “They asked us to subdivide the lot … and a different developer has bought that. They want to put either a restaurant or something like a medical office building. In other words, they don’t know who yet, but they think with the traffic it’ll be a good, good location.”
Troup said the big box retailer interested in the Kmart building has plans to tear down the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant at 3601 Broadway and replace it with another restaurant that offers drive-up food. He also said plans call for at least three other buildings to be built on the property.
“One likely would be some kind of medical office building, and there’s probably some other restaurants,” Troup said.
He said he expects the big box retailer to announce a decision in late January or early February. He thought the announcement was going to be made before Christmas.
“It’s moving forward,” he said. “They had to do a traffic study … and do some other things. They’ve gone through all the hoops that have been required of them.”
He said $20 million would be spent to make improvements to the parking lot and to the northeast corner of the building.
“If we were at a football game, we’re definitely at the 10-yard line and it’s first down. Some might argue that we’re at the 8-yard line. I’m feeling quite positive about it. All of our conversations have been extremely positive. Based off the projected sales for this store (that would move into the Kmart building), as well as (the store that will move into) Shopko, we believe Quincy’s retail climate will be bigger than it ever was.”
— Quincy Mayor Mike Troup
Asked if Target, the eighth-largest retailer in the United States, was going to move into the former Kmart building, Troup said, “We don’t know for sure.
“There’s a lot of confidentiality with retailers. They can’t … well, they won’t say who it is. We’ve tried. Even with the restaurants … gee, is it Red Lobster? Is it Chick-fil-A? Everybody keeps throwing out the same names. None of these guys are telling us, ‘Yeah, we have XYZ signed and ready to go.’ ”
How close is the finalization of the deal with the big box retailer?
“If we were at a football game, we’re definitely at the 10-yard line and it’s first down,” Troup said. “Some might argue that we’re at the 8-yard line. I’m feeling quite positive about it. All of our conversations have been extremely positive.
“Based off the projected sales for this store (that would move into the Kmart building), as well as (the store that will move into) Shopko, we believe Quincy’s retail climate will be bigger than it ever was.”
The Quincy City Council voted in February 2020 to use revenue from the citywide tax to finance incentives aimed at bringing new retailers to Quincy. A specialty retail sales tax rebate program is being offered to specialty retail stores and national brands interesting in coming to Quincy. Another grant program is designed to attract retailers to fill the large anchor stores that were left vacant when Sears, Kmart, Shopko and other retailers left the city.
The property at 3200 Broadway is owned by Quincy Holdings LLC. ShopKo, a Wisconsin-based general merchandise retailer, announced in March 2019 it was liquidate its assets and closing all of its remaining locations (including the Quincy store) by mid-June 2019, according to a document filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
The most recent use of the ShopKo property was in September 2020 when the Adams County Health Department and Illinois Department of Public Health operated a drive-through COVID-19 testing site.
The Quincy Kmart store was one of 142 Kmart and Sears sites to be closed in an announcement made in October 2018 by parent company Sears Holdings Corp. Kmart had been at that location since 1971. Quincyans Eugene and Pat Reagan own the property at 3701 Broadway.
Troup admits concern for finding enough employees to fill the wishes of new stores and restaurants.
“Did you ever think Kelly’s would be closed on Tuesdays every week?” he said. “Yet, that’s where they’re at. Then you look at the other restaurants. We still have the ‘welcome’ signs at all the businesses, but right under it it also says ‘help wanted.’ It’s better than unemployment being 20 percent.”
Troup says the Great River Economic Development Foundation is doing a good job. More than 50 workers have relocated to Quincy since the creation of Quincy Calling, a multi-year resident and workforce recruitment campaign launched in September.
“I don’t know how many of them have spouses or children, so I’m guessing we have more than 100 new people in town within … what? Less than six months?” he said. “That’s pretty good.”
Troup also noted the city is talking with three hotel developers.
One operator, which doesn’t have a hotel in Quincy, is looking to do something west of Fourth Street.
“What I like about this particular group is they are long-term operators of hotel properties,” Troup said. “They buy, they build it and they’re looking to be there 15-20 years.”
He said one other hotel operator already has one hotel in Quincy and is looking to add another. He said the third hotel operator is “big in Illinois and Missouri” but doesn’t have one in Quincy.
“We’re just finding out what kind of incentives they need,” Troup said. “What do they expect? We have TIF district dollars and we have enterprise zones. As each of these developers tell us where they’re looking, then we will know.”
Troup wants the city to get back to offering more than 1,000 hotel rooms. The recent closures of the Welcome Inn and the Eagle’s Nest have cut the number of hotel rooms to a little more than 800.
“The Oakley-Lindsay Center is doing a great job in filling up with different activities, and they’ve got a couple groups looking at Quincy that could bring 1,200 to 1,400 people,” he said. “If you only have 800 rooms, that means about 20 or more percent of your people have to stay out of town. We need to really push for the hotel side.”
Troup says he believes he will have at least one commitment for a new hotel before May.
“Those things never go as fast as I’d like,” he said.
Cullinan Properties, owner of the Quincy Town Center, recently created a 20-page PDF showing a proposed Hilton Garden Inn being built.
Troup also said TriMark Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of vehicle hardware products, is renting the former Century Signs building, 2704 N. 30th. TriMark’s headquarters are in New Hampton, Iowa, and it has satellite offices in England and China. Troup said Knapheide is the company’s third-largest customer.
“They’re doing this to be next door (to Knapheide),” he said. “They’re not moving anybody here because they’ve got lower unemployment (in New Hampton) than we do, so they’re going to be hiring probably a dozen or so employees.”
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