WINDSOR HEIGHTS, Iowa - A redevelopment plan for a strip mall located along University Avenue in Windsor Heights has some businesses relocating and others closing for good.
The Apple Valley shopping center consists of two buildings owned by Colby Interests, who submitted a plan to the city to demolish the venue and redevelop it into another shopping center to be called Midtown Crossing. According to city officials, the plan was reviewed in May and will be looked at again at the next Windsor Heights City Council meeting on Monday. If approved, demolition will begin on the west building this year, with construction to follow in 2016.
Retailers in the west building of the shopping center say Colby Interests has had trouble renting vacant storefront space in its east building for several years now; the overhaul hopes to revitalize business interest in the land-locked Windsor Heights, but at the cost of losing several local shops that have been loyal to Apple Valley for decades.
Golf Headquarters, open for nearly thirty years at the center's western building, is closing and they are working to secure a lease at a different location. Other retailers in the building, like The Rookie baseball card shop, Maria Grocery and Gift, and Fitness Sports, have to be out by September 30. Though the owners say they were given a heads up about Colby Interests' plans to demolish Apple Valley around two years ago, a hard time-line wasn't provided until they were given their 60-day notice to move out.
"I can understand why it's happening," said Anders Olson, owner of The Rookie. "It's going to be, long-term, a great thing for the city of Windsor Heights, and there's going to be lots of new businesses coming here. So, it's going to be pretty beneficial, overall, I think, for everyone. Unfortunately, there's a few businesses here that are kind of in the way."
Olson says he's been open at the shopping center for 10 years now. His move to a larger space in Clive has its silver linings; Olson says being able to expand to a larger store will help him add new products to afford the doubled rent, as well as his get store's name out there. But he says once he gets moved into his new location in Clive, he won't consider coming back to Windsor Heights several years down the line when Midtown Crossing is up and running. However, Olson says he understands the shopping center's desire to be successful in Windsor Heights long-term.
"I think they're thinking not about what's going to happen in the next 10 years, but what's going to happen in the next 50 years, so they're kind of setting themselves up for success down the road," he said.