WATERLOO — Construction of the long-awaited All-In Grocers could begin around Thanksgiving.
Developer Rodney Anderson said he’s hoping work on the foundation can start within the next week after Waterloo City Council members voted unanimously Monday to approve minor change in the site plan.
“Everything is still a go,” said Anderson, who is planning to build the 25,000-square-foot grocery store and restaurant near CVS Pharmacy at the intersection of Franklin and East Second streets.
“We’re trying to beat Mother Nature, and sometimes you lose,” he said. “If we could at least get the foundation in now that will really help.”
The news brought relief to some in the community who wondered if the project, which received city approval and incentives more than two years ago, was ever going to happen.
Anderson held a ground-breaking ceremony in April 2018 on the site. But despite the city committing $900,000 in grants and more than $550,000 in property acquisition to help the project, the land sat empty for two construction seasons.
Anderson said it was difficult working through the federal new market tax credit program being used to help finance the $9 million project.
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“The new market tax credits are a good program, but there’s so much paperwork to be done,” he said. “The good thing about it is we’ve learned from this first one, and I’m planning to do another one later.”
The action approved by council members this week was a simple site plan change to shift the store to the west, closer to the CVS Pharmacy and farther away from the homes across East Second Street.
“Just by making this simple shift, it’s going to give us a little more room for storage and save me a few extra dollars,” Anderson said.
Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said the city’s building inspectors are currently reviewing the plans and should be ready to issue the permit for the foundation soon.
The store is expected to provide groceries and jobs in an underserved part of the community near U.S. Highway 63 and Franklin Street. Residents of the Walnut Neighborhood hailed the plans as another step in revitalizing the historic area bordering downtown.
All-In Grocers is expected to include a Grandma’s Hands Restaurant and the Mrs. Willie Mae Wright Community Center.