Tuesday, Oct. 7


Two great retail businesses
ready to come to Lincoln    
Send a link to a friend

[OCT. 7, 2003]  Lincoln Economic Development Director Jeff Mayfield presented two retail businesses' plans before the city council on Monday evening. He introduced business developers, their legal counsel and contractors who have been working together with him for 10 months.

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," Christie said.

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!" Christie said.

It is also estimated that during set-up the stores will spend $500,000 to $600,000 in retail dollars for store fixtures.

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 done.

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.


[to top of second column in this article]

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 locate here.

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.

The council committed to discuss and expedite a decision on the request.

[Jan Youngquist]

Articles from the past week







Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law & Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health & Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor