Goody's and Dollar Tree, both
nationally acclaimed businesses, are on a 30-day time frame, ready
to sign long-term leases. The businesses had requested
confidentiality until such time that they were ready to commit. If
signed, the prospective new retail businesses will reside in the
former Staples and Stage spaces.
Mayfield and those involved in getting
the contracts explained that they have waited to make the ninth-hour
announcement so as to have something that was worked out, a sure
thing, and not waste the council's time with "ifs and maybes."
Real estate developer David Christie of
D.J. Christie Inc., Overland Park, Kan., said that with the
contracts already made up, leases could be signed and his contractor
can have the properties for both businesses ready in 90 days. "This
is a reality. They can be operating by Feb. 1 of next year,"
The contractor needs a go-ahead no
later than the end of November, and they'd prefer early November to
get the job done on time.
The Feb. 1 opening date was chosen by
the prospective retailers. They made their request based on seasonal
purchasing timing. If that date cannot be met, a new date will need
to be set based on their seasonal inventory buying time schedule.
The businesses will bring 75 jobs and
$5.8 million in annual retail sales. A market analysis determined
that Lincoln has a 75 percent to 80 percent market seepage. Meaning
that all these retail dollars are going to other markets right now.
People are shopping out of town for the products and items that the
new stores offer.
The Goody's store is much like a Kohl's
without the household appliances. They have a focus on nice clothing
lines and recently acquired the Duck Head label.
You can buy anything and everything for
$1 in a Dollar Tree -- they even have fans -- "and it works!"
It is also estimated that during set-up
the stores will spend $500,000 to $600,000 in retail dollars for
The retailers have requested in their
contracts that there be a traffic signal installed at the plaza.
This development would address an ongoing problem that people
frequently complain about. Businesses situated in that area,
especially on the south side, are difficult to access. The
million-dollar-plus renovation project includes the estimated costs
for a traffic signal.
Mayfield said that he has already
contacted the Illinois Department of Transportation to find out what
would need to be done, when and how much it would cost to get that
The developer is ready to make repairs
and upgrades to the former Kmart plaza that sits vacant. He has
committed to repair and seal the parking lot that has been
vandalized, fill holes in the access road, supply signage and
remodel facades according to the potential tenants' requests.
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The city is being asked to back the
project by funding $655,000. This includes the estimated cost of the
traffic signal and other site developments.
Christie said that the city could
either issue bonds or notes to finance it, and it could be
short-term or longer term, according the city's preference. A
portion of the sales tax could pay off the debt.
Grant Eaton from Environmental
Management Corporation said that he thought there might be grants
out there that would help with the traffic signal. He is going to
check into that.
Both Dollar Tree and Goody's are known
for doing their homework about where they locate their stores. They
pay big money to research an area. Thompson projections stand behind
these retailers. Because of that there are a number of businesses
that watch what they do and where they go. It is expected that if
they come here, you will see at least one sit-down restaurant like
Appleby's, some other fast food restaurants and secondary businesses
Councilmen Verl Prather and Steve
Fuhrer voiced supportive opinions that the retailers would bring
jobs and retail tax dollars.
Mayfield said that he knows of other
businesses that have been in contact with him that are interested in
locating here, and they "are watching to see what we (Lincoln) do
with this." We're being presented with an opportunity to bring some
retail businesses to our community. They have come to us, when
communities all over the United States are trying to get retailers
to locate in their communities.
Mayor Beth Davis commented that at a
recent community development conference she learned that retail is
being presented as the future for communities like us. She said most
communities are looking for retail.
Goody has been looking at locations in
Mattoon, Decatur, Jacksonville and a couple of other locations, and
they have chosen Lincoln.
Following the presentation of this
project to the county last month, Logan County Board Chairman Dale
Voyles said that he supports the retail development. They will be
looking at committing a portion of the retail sales tax that the
county collects and designating it for infrastructure development.
The county collects 0.25 percent of the local retail tax.
Voyles said that he hopes that it will
send a message to potential retailers that we want them here.
committed to discuss and expedite a decision on the request.