Some stores to stay put
Claims by an Omaha developer that a proposed Storm Lake strip mall is filling up with tenants may be a case of wishful hoping.
Senior vice president of West Bay Properties Craig Foreman told the Pilot-Tribune Monday that three national franchises had signed deals to rent space in 'The Shoppes of Storm Lake' mall West Bay plans to build in front of Wal-Mart on North Lake Avenue.
But in some cases, those decisions may not be done deals.
"We've signed GameStop, Cellular One and Payless Shoes," he said. "And we have deals with two fashion retailers and a national gift franchise that have locations in Storm Lake are still pending."
Cellular One franchise owner Mike Mitchell, speaking from Spencer on Monday, said no decision has been made.
"We have an interest in the mall," he said. "But we have not made any deals with West Bay."
Mitchell said he wasn't sure things would be as good for his business farther out on Lake Avenue.
"Being in front of Wal-Mart may be good from the stand- point it has a high volume of traffic," he said. "But I don't think I could get the size of sign that I have now. And I understand the rent will be pretty steep for there."
GameStop's Cindy Bend, speaking from its Grapevine, Texas, corporate offices, said that her company had nothing scheduled for Storm Lake.
"Although it seems like a good place to expand, we have nothing on the table for Storm Lake at this time," she said.
And although rumors have surfaced that some of Storm Lake's downtown businesses may be pulling up stakes to move to the projected mall, two of Lake Avenue businesses said on Monday that they had no plans to leave the downtown.
The Buckle's Brett Milkie, speaking from the Buckle's offices in Ohio said that "there is no truth to that rumor. The Buckle is not moving out of downtown Storm Lake."
And Mike Kohler, co-owner of the Sugar Bowl, a Hallmark card and gift store, said that his store is not moving.
"Our business is strong, we like it here and we have no intentions of leaving," Kohler said.
Efforts to reach the other retailer that Foreman said may rumored to be moving to the strip mall were unsuccessful.
Payless ShoeSource, Inc., however, did confirm that until otherwise told it would be moving from its present location to the proposed strip mall.
West Bay has not yet purchased the property, Foreman said, but his company is hoping to close on the deal with the Citizens First National Bank "sometime after the first of the year."
"We should begin construction, weather permitting, by the end of January or the middle of February," he said. "We are looking at opening by the summer of 2004."
The 18,525-square-foot building will hold six or seven tenants, Foreman said.
Foreman also said that while his company would be bringing in construction crews, it would be working to coordinate subcontract work with local contractors.