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Demolition of JC Penney begins in Mason City


This news story was published on January 29, 2019.
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January 2019 photos of demo of JC Penney

January 2019 photos of demo of JC Penney

MASON CITY – The first step in building a new multi-purpose arena in Mason City is underway with the demolition of the interior of the former JC Penney store in Southbridge Mall.

Crews were on the site at the former anchor store of the struggling Southbridge Mall in recent days and have ramped up activity. Men in hard hats and skid loaders and trump trucks are tearing out, dumping, loading and hauling away debris from the inside of the store. Work seems to be taking place at a feverish pace, as the southwest side of the mall parking lot is closed to traffic.

Even as the blue collar work is racing along, the white collar side of the ledger has been going quickly, too, but some in town are concerned that agreements with a hotel developer and council approvals and other major components of the Renaissance Project are being ignored or not followed precisely. Some say town leaders have forged ahead with the arena and may be jeopardizing the rest of the project or put taxpayers at risk. Others say it was long-past due to break ground and get the project off the ground and that these moves will finally silence the naysayers.

The following is the ballot language that voters approved overwhelmingly back in 2017. Some say city hall has strayed from the approved plan, and others wonder how long the “shelf life” of the approved referendum should last.

#1
“SHALL THE CITY OF MASON CITY, STATE OF IOWA, APPROVE ENTRY INTO A LEASE AGREEMENT IN A PRINCIPAL AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $18,000,000, FOR AN ESSENTIAL CORPORATE URBAN RENEWAL PURPOSE OF THE CITY, SUCH LEASE AGREEMENT BEING ENTERED INTO TO FACILITATE THE CONSTRUCTION OF A RECREATIONAL CENTER AND MULTIPURPOSE ARENA FACILITY (“FACILITY”) AND SUBSEQUENT LEASE OF THE FACILITY BY THE CITY, PURSUANT TO IOWA CODE CHAPTER 403 AND THE MASON CITY DOWNTOWN REINVESTMENT URBAN RENEWAL PLAN?”

#2
“SHALL THE CITY OF MASON CITY, STATE OF IOWA, ISSUE ITS TAXABLE GENERAL OBLIGATION URBAN RENEWAL BONDS IN AN AMOUNT NOT EXCEEDING THE AMOUNT OF $14,000,000 FOR THE PURPOSE OF AIDING IN THE PLANNING, UNDERTAKING, AND CARRYING OUT OF URBAN RENEWAL PROJECTS UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF IOWA CODE CHAPTER 403 AND THE URBAN RENEWAL PLAN FOR THE DOWNTOWN REINVESTMENT URBAN RENEWAL AREA, AS AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME, INCLUDING THOSE COSTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPPING OF A PERFORMING ARTS PAVILION, CONSTRUCTION OF SKYWALK CONNECTIONS BETWEEN VARIOUS BUILDINGS AND FACILITIES AND OTHER RELATED AND SUPPORTING PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS, INCLUDING STREETS, INTERSECTIONS, SIDEWALKS, TRAFFIC SIGNALS AND SEWER IMPROVEMENTS; RENOVATION, RECONSTRUCTION, IMPROVEMENT AND EQUIPPING OF THE MUSIC MAN SQUARE COMPLEX INTO A CONVENTION/CONFERENCE CENTER, AND THE CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPPING OF A NEW MUSEUM FACILITY, AND FINANCING ONE OR MORE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GRANTS TO FUND THE ACQUISITION, CONSTRUCTION AND EQUIPPING OF A NEW HOTEL FACILITY?”

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26 Responses to Demolition of JC Penney begins in Mason City

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2019 at 3:01 pm

    I used to eat at spic and span by old interstate power building – sometimes I had to eat left handed if over 14 customers were also there – AH ! The gooood old days.

    • Avatar

      Allen Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2019 at 3:46 pm

      From all my years in MC, I don’t remember the S&S being by the interstate power building. I think that you are talking about the Suzie-Q, which is still there. 14 people would be crowded.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2019 at 8:38 am

    Notice to charlson beep beep ! – The brown paper bag should have been 7 percent in FRANKLINS – sorry about the late memo as the inflation has risen from 5 to 7 .

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 31, 2019 at 8:34 am

    If you remember – The elected idiots/thieves in New York City, spend millions and years trying to finish a city skating rink. Guess what ? TRUMP BROUGHT IN HIS OWN COMPANY AND PAID FOR THE WHOLE MESS IN 1 YEAR it was FINISHED . JUST LIKE THE WALL WILL BE BUILT !! he haaaaaaaa ! Stuff that in your liberal/demopoop rectumMITIUS.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    The whole comes down to one thing get the hockey area and the hotel does not count, or the other parts, just get the arena what ever it take people knew that from the beginning

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 31, 2019 at 1:43 pm

      If I had two choices, I would go with the arena, with hopes that it will pan out, and scrape the hotel. It’s just going to be an eyesore anyway.

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2019 at 9:43 am

    What company got the project ? Sounds like Charlson really got screwed on their bid – LITTLE BID RIGGING GOING ON ? Say it’s not SOOOOO !

  6. Avatar

    Observer the Original Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2019 at 5:02 am

    No funds from the Hockey group yet. No State money yet. No grant money yet. So, the City leaders have decided to forge ahead with this project anyway.

    And they will leave taxpayers on the hook. There is no way our elected officials can look us in the face, and tell us there will not be increases in our taxes account of this project.

    And the unelected official that resides at 9 N Federal, does not care what it costs us, so long as she gets her way.

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2019 at 2:30 am

    amatbe they will dig a big hole inside so that the money stays warm in the “money pit” city has a big jar of Vaseline, so bend over and get ready. wonder if the city admin. will run off like Trout did when he found out that its not going to work and wanted to get his butt out of town before the Vaseline was used on him

  8. Avatar

    mint Reply Report comment

    January 30, 2019 at 2:10 am

    if there is excess $ give it back to the slaves/tax payers, it is their $.

  9. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2019 at 9:44 pm

    This is not putting Mason City and North Iowa’s best interest first.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2019 at 11:39 pm

      This is a sad day when one athletic group, MCYH, puts the town in serious jeopardy. This is the definition of money pit. All the downtown businesses that had “vote yes” in their windows should be held liable.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        January 29, 2019 at 11:56 pm

        Do not support:
        Spic ans Span restaurant
        Moreman’s Clothiers
        Candles Shoppe on East State
        Victoria Secret
        GNC
        all other mall shops.
        Cent Credit Union
        these businesses and others pushed through the Mason City Youth Hockey agenda to create their own business sales. Can you can conflict-of-interest.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          January 30, 2019 at 1:20 am

          Where is the Spic & Span Restaurant located?

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            January 30, 2019 at 7:57 am

            Only in his mind.

          • Avatar

            Anonymous

            January 30, 2019 at 8:01 am

            Well, they’ve started the demolition of the mall, (moneypit) Hopefully they will continue east to deleware, and north to state.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2019 at 11:39 pm

      Hey MCYH “where’s the money”?

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2019 at 11:44 pm

      So G8 screws us twice, Gateway screws us twice, not even close to what was voted on,mall owner owes back taxes still, sewer and roof in terrible condition, Trying to hold the owner responsible for repairs(right), the bid system on demo was screwed up,no museum,no walkway, no secured hotel again…but MC pushes forward. Who is this idiot that we overpaid as City Administrator? This was an is about MC Hockey.

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    I just can’t wait to go ice skating inside on a cold winter night, like now.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 30, 2019 at 6:57 pm

      If you want it, you should pay for it, and not expect the taxpayers of Mason City to support you. So far, not a dime from the Hockey groups as promised.

  11. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2019 at 7:26 pm

    MCYH/MCFS- inflating prices of equipment to meet there dollar value towards the project. 3- Zambonis included in equipment. 2 broken down and one barely runs. Held on to 2 that were headed to scrape metal to over inflate their value towards the project.

    Gateway- no contract signed yet for hotel, they are waiting until city is neck deep in this before they say they are out. That is called KARMA!!!!!!

    Mall owner- laughing all the way to the bank- city fixes up his mall, he sells it. Rates go sky high for use if arena- no one can afford it. MCYH and MCFS programs fall apart and dissolve.

    Supported the project in the beginning, but to many business partners I would trust with my pen they use to sign the deals. I would say “MCYH/MCFS get out of this deal before you give any money to this project, as it will fall apart and you will end it with no arena and an empty bank account.”

    to be continued ……..

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2019 at 11:48 pm

      It is because stupid decisions like this is why we have so many vacant buildings. Businesses do not trust, local communities do not support Mason City. It’s a retirement town that is dwindling in population. But keeps spending, and will till its bankrupt.

  12. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2019 at 10:40 am

    ” trump trucks”

    Ha! Must be Russian made.

  13. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2019 at 9:56 am

    very sad. like watching your home burn and you cant do anything about it