The members of the Dubuque City Council unanimously supported the purchase of a high-profile property in the city center on Monday, which will serve as the future location of a new parking ramp.
Councilors voted 7 to 0 to purchase the property at 880 and 898 Central Ave., the current location of Hendricks Feed & Seed, for $ 1.7 million.
City officials plan to eventually use part of the 1-acre site to build a proposed $ 20 million parking ramp that the city must build under a development agreement with Roshek Property LLC; Cottingham & Butler; and Heartland Financial USA. Hendricks Feed & Seed will move to a new location, and the existing historic buildings on the sites will remain intact, with future plans for resale by the city.
In late 2019, Cottingham & Butler and Heartland Financial announced plans to purchase the Roshek Building in downtown Dubuque. The city has signed a development contract with the two companies and promised to build a parking garage with 500 parking spaces to cover the additional parking requirements that will result from the expansion of the companies in the building. The facility must be completed and opened by December 31, 2023.
Hendricks Feed & Seed can continue to operate rent-free at the Central Avenue location through September 30, 2022 if it so desires.
City Manager Mike Van Milligen said the city will demolish a metal warehouse in the eastern part of the property to make way for the new ramp. The historic buildings on the west side of the property that house the Hendricks Feed & Seed retail store will not be demolished and will eventually be resold by the city.
“We’re not demolishing any of the historic buildings,” said Van Milligen.
A city valuation of the Hendricks Feed & Seed property put it at $ 1.3 million. Online property records show that the two parcels extend over 1 acre in total and have an estimated total value of just under $ 1.1 million.
The property was valued at $ 1.6 million in an appraisal conducted by Hendricks Feed & Seed, according to an email from William Hendricks, president of the company.
Hendricks Feed & Seed was founded in Dubuque in 1929 and has been operating at its current location since 1942.
Rick Dickinson, President and CEO of Greater Dubuque Development Corp., offered his assistance in buying the property, arguing that it will be critical to further growth in downtown Dubuque.
“This infrastructure is absolutely necessary to move the community forward,” he said. “We cannot afford to make decisions tomorrow based on today’s circumstances.”
Council members voted in favor of the purchase.
Mayor Roy Buol stressed that the move had been extensively researched before it was presented to the city council.
“I can guarantee you that anything that matters in this city has been through a lot of research before it is ever voted on in this city,” said Buol.
Councilor Brad Cavanagh said he was supportive of the property purchase, but added that he would like a fuller review of the city’s future downtown parking needs before councilors vote on approving the parking ramp project.
“We need to be able to address the real need for parking,” he said. “We have to make sure that we are not effectively building a bridge to nowhere, a parking garage that no one will park in.”