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CEDAR FALLS — A major furniture warehouse and retail store are coming to Cedar Falls.

The City Council on Monday approved a development agreement for Furniture Mart USA of Sioux Falls, S.D., to build a 150,000-square-foot, $6 million warehouse on 18 acres of land west of the Target Distribution Center perishable foods warehouse at the corner of Venture Way and Production Drive in the Cedar Falls Industrial Park.

Furniture Mart USA also plans to build a 25,000-square-foot, $1.6 million Ashley Furniture Homestore retail store at a to-be-determined location in the city. Company officials said negotiations are in process, but they anticipate constructing a new building.

The two buildings combined would employ about 60 people, company officials said. They hope to complete the warehouse project in the first quarter of 2017 with the retail store to follow.

Furniture Mart USA is the sole licensee for Ashley Furniture in Iowa, and officials said both projects fit in with plans for a major expansion in the state.

“We’re really excited,” said Jim Heinitz, CEO of the Furniture Mart USA.

Bill Hinks, company founder and board chairman, said, “The more we looked at Cedar Falls and looked at the growth and the forward thinking of the (city) staff here, we just felt we wanted to be part of Cedar Falls, and we’re very happy we’re going to come here. It’s a very centrally located spot for us” for a warehouse operation.

“We’re building a store in Dubuque right now,” Heinitz noted. “We’ll be able to go to Cedar Rapids, Dubuque and we’re looking at Mason City.” The Cedar Rapids store opened in 2014. Company officials said they are “very active” in store site negotiations.

“This is a major, major project for us,” said Bob Seymour, interim Cedar Falls community services manager. City and Greater Cedar Valley Alliance staff worked on the project the past couple of months.

The development agreement the council approved Monday calls for a five-year graduated property tax abatement with 75 percent of the building valuation exempt from taxation the first year, decreasing by increments of 15 percent until the full valuation is on the tax rolls. About $432,000 in taxes would be abated over the five years and $528,000 paid. Annual property taxes are estimated at about $192,000 per year.

City staff said no city incentives are being offered for the retail store.

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