CEDAR RAPIDS – New Pioneer Food Co-op’s new store in Cedar Rapids might open sooner than expected.
Store leaders recently said the new location should be open by the holiday season, before the end of 2014. See more here: New Pioneer and other stores to open in CR
But “holiday” could also refer to another celebration, even closer than December.
Perhaps Cedar Rapids fans will be able to buy their free-range turkey, organic sweet potatoes and other natural foods for their Thanksgiving dinner from New Pi.
Matt Hartz, New Pioneer’s general manager, said while no formal announcement has been made, the store could potentially open next month. A certificate of occupancy is needed before that date will be announced.
General contractor Ryan Companies is working on a schedule that could enable the store to open in November, Hartz said, but whichever holiday that might be, “we will be ready.”
On Tuesday, Oct. 7, New Pioneer received initial approval from the Cedar Rapids City Council for tax increment financing on their site at 3338 Center Point Rd. NE.
The council unanimously approved the first reading of the request, for five years at 100 percent of taxes that would be returned to the project, rather than going into city, county or school coffers. Kirsty Sanchez, planner with the Cedar Rapids community development department, said the projected amount is a total of $731,500 over five years.
Initially, when the store was announced one year ago, New Pi leaders said that TIF was not part of the consideration, although they said they might apply for an abatement to help with some of the storm water management costs.
Hartz said the co-op closed on the building without any assumption that TIF would be included. “There was never anything in our financial models for it,” he said, adding that city staff later pointed out that the project might qualify for TIF.
In Cedar Rapids and other cities across Iowa, TIF has become an almost standard incentive to attract businesses. Those property taxes cannot be used for city and other purposes for the time period set in the agreement, with the thought that eventually, the development will bring in more for the tax rolls than if the property had remained vacant.
The second, and possibly, third readings of the agreement will take place at the Oct. 21 City Council meeting at 4 p.m. at City Hall.
New Pioneer plans to hire about 50 people to staff the Cedar Rapids site. The store offers a higher than industry standard for staff who work full time, with benefits.
Jenifer Angerer, marketing manager for New Pi, noted that the following job fairs are scheduled:
- Oct 16th at NewBo City Market from 4 – 7 p.m.
- Oct. 16th at the Iowa City Work Force development office from 4-7 p.m.
- Oct 31st at NewBo City Market from 2 – 6 p.m.