The next major business development in Storm Lake could bring a new look to the downtown area, and create moves by several existing businesses, including the Pilot-Tribune office.
A real estate broker is seeking property in Storm Lake's retail district with plans for a major development. The plans for the site have not yet been released.
Local speculation is that pharmacy giant Walgreens may be seeking to locate in the area.
Walgreens officials have said they are interested in expanding in the northwest Iowa region, but on Friday, a company spokesperson said that no project is set for the city. "Walgreens has no plans for Storm Lake," said Carol Hidely of the Walgreens public relations department.
The site currently generating development interest is the corner of Lake and Milwaukee at the north end of the downtown area. Several property owners have been approached to sign option agreements for the potential purchase of their sites, including the Pilot-Tribune, Century 21 Real Estate, and Color-ize. Several other tenant businesses occupy the block. At presstime, Midwest Equibank was the only property owner on the block not yet to sign an option agreement.
"While moving to a new location would involve some difficulty, we simply could not stand in the way of a potential development that we feel would be very positive for the future of downtown Storm Lake," said Bob Madsen, general manager of the Pilot-Tribune. "Most of the people doing business on this block feel that what is good for the community will ultimately be best for the continued growth of our businesses as well."
Regardless of potential locations, Walgreens, the nation's largest pharmacy company, is firmly in growth mode. Operating 5,401 stores including 55 in Iowa with plans for a few others to be announced soon, Walgreens' indicates that it plans to open 475 stores in 2006. A store has been announced for Carroll, and Spencer city officials are discussing a potential plan for a 14,000 square foot store where development could begin as early as this fall.
If property is purchased in Storm Lake, according to real estate brokers involved in the discussion, development can be expected to begin rapidly.