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Schoneman working to fill two Mason City shopping centers

This news story was published on May 29, 2016.
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southport 2

Southport shopping center is located in the 1500 – 1900 block of South Federal Avenue in Mason City

MASON CITY – A local real estate agent is working on a brighter future for two down-and-out shopping destinations.

Southport shopping center and Southbridge Mall in Mason City have seen better days. Stores and shops at both locations have closed or fled for greener pastures as the heyday for both locales is a figment of yesteryear. Southport in particular is now anchored by a liquor / tobacco store and offers not much else. Six storefronts are now vacant and available for lease.  Former anchor store Sears closed last year. Southbridge Mall seems to be the same mall it always was with fewer and fewer open stores and the trademark 80s music entertaining a handful of mall walkers.

Brett Schoneman, realtor and councilman

Brett Schoneman, realtor and councilman

Currently, local Mason City realtor and city councilman Brett Schoneman of Schoneman Real Estate is attached to both properties. You will see a sign with his name perched at both shopping centers.

Southport has been for sale or lease for years with his realty agency looking to fill storefronts.  Currently, Mr. Schoneman tells NIT that he receives a lot of calls, but, most of the prospective retailers choose to you go out west if they choose Mason City

“Even with cost of locating at Southport 50% less than Willow Creek (Walmart area), I still can’t get people there.  We are working on an offer now for a new retailer for a  17,000 square feet space.  We get calls on it.  They just choose to go elsewhere.”

He also stressed that upgrades to storefronts are an option for the right retailer, as well as tenant-improvement allowances – anywhere from $10 – $15 per square foot.

“If anyone has suggestions for a specific retailer, or is interested themselves, please leave a comment or drop me a line,” Mr. Schoneman suggested.

Southbridge Mall

Southbridge Mall

About 15 blocks north, Southbridge Mall’s future is in limbo.  Currently owned by a bank in Texas, a possible “renaissance” development deal currently hangs in the balance that could breath new life into the former destination.  Construction on a pivotal hotel is rumored to begin in July, which may be enough for the five-project development to commence.  The mall would see a hockey arena and a music pavilion, to go with a nearby Marriott Hotel, parking ramp and mixed-use building.

However, the city of Mason City is actively seeking private ownership of the mall, as bank ownership is an impediment to moving ahead with a hockey arena inside the former JC Penney anchor store on the mall’s west side.

This is where you will find Mr. Schoneman’s realty sign – hanging in the main entrance to the former JC Penney.  He explained today that should the downtown “renaissance” deal fall apart, he is seeking to lease the store to a tenant.

“It’s a contingency plan,” Mr. Schoneman explained.

“JC Penney is closed, but they are on the lease for 3 more years.  A company in Massachusetts called me and asked me to list the property for lease, and I said of course.  This would take the burden of rent off of JC Penney.”

“I’m very optimistic that the renaissance project will go through,” Mr. Schoneman said.  “I’m confident it will go through.  A boutique realty company that works on all JC Penney leases called and asked me if I work in real estate.  I said of course.  That’s how the lease listing came to be.”

Some have bet that the hotel and the entire renaissance project will happen, and a surge of development has taken place in the downtown core area, with a new event venue – The Main Event – opening, a new brewery under construction, and several storefronts getting much-needed facelifts.  The Bank of America branch next to JC Penney closed, however, due to a stale business climate.

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8 Responses to Schoneman working to fill two Mason City shopping centers

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    May 30, 2016 at 1:42 am

    i heard that if Floyd was going to build a Loves Truck Stop then kwikstar would build on the Rose Bowl site.

    • Avatar

      Foma Kiniaev Reply Report comment

      May 30, 2016 at 8:26 am

      The Loves Truck Stop in Floyd is a certainty

      • NIT Publisher

        NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

        May 30, 2016 at 6:02 pm

        Yes it is under construction now

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        May 31, 2016 at 11:06 pm

        Just what do they sell at the Loves Truck Stop???

  2. Mary Madison

    Mary Madison Reply Report comment

    May 29, 2016 at 7:59 pm

    Perhaps there would be more interest from businesses to locate here/in Southport if the City officials had not tuned away KwikStar from the Rose Bowl site. Those City officials told the KwikStar folks they weren’t welcome in Mason City so they went to Clear Lake and are doing a fabulous business!! There’s nothing at the south exit off the Avenue to pull in potential visitors or businesses at that junction. The City officials chased away a great business. Mr. Schoneman is a council member. Guess he gets to pick & choose for the City. What’s wrong with that picture?????

    • NIT Publisher

      NIT Publisher Reply Report comment

      May 29, 2016 at 9:54 pm

      That’s very sad if it’s true

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      May 30, 2016 at 9:44 am

      Please provide proof of your claim. Otherwise it’s just gossip. Why would MC chase away a Southend business? Doesn’t make sense that they would. Kwik Star went where the profit is. Off I35, on commuters route to work in MC and from tourist traffic.

      • Avatar

        Ralph Reply Report comment

        May 30, 2016 at 10:31 am

        I would have thought that the HI-WAY 65/ AVE of the SAINTS intersection would of been a good location for either Loves Truck Stop or Kwik Star, there is nothing there to compete with. Loves is building right across from an existing truck stop and Kwik Star down the road from another. It does make one wonder why neither one built in Mason City.