Council Bluffs businesses optimistic about development activity at former mall site

Tenants heading into the Menards center excited about their economic progress
Menards and other businesses are bringing more economic improvements to the area where Mall of the Bluffs once stood.
Published: Dec. 8, 2022 at 9:16 PM CST
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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (WOWT) - Three years ago, some tenants at the Mall of the Bluffs were angry and concerned about the future of their business when the mall shut its doors.

Menards purchased the old mall and they didn’t waste any time redeveloping the space. Business owners are hoping this project brings new life to the area.

Construction is underway, and progress is being made.

Council Bluffs Public Schools sold its building on the property back in February to make way for an automotive service business. There is space available to rent here, and some businesses have already moved in.

Mark Dickey owns Mad Optical; he got into the new Menards site early.

“I think it’s growing,” he said. “I think there’s a lot of new homes growing to the east of the area here now and the population is starting to go further east.”

“I think with everybody that drives by, they’re going to be able to see the office that we have here and maybe stop in ask questions and maybe come in and do some business with us.”

Dan Mouw of Eileen’s Colossal Cookies is hoping the new project will mean his staff will have to frost up more cookies to meet a growing demand.

“I think with Menards coming over there and opening up over there will definitely increase business traffic for us.”

This project saves the area; business was not good the last few years the mall was open.

“We had an old mall that had a few tenants left, but not very many. And because of that the valuation had gone down, and the upkeep of the mall had gone down,” Council Bluffs Mayor Matt Walsh said.

Menards has plans to greatly increase the size if its Council Bluffs footprint. The new building will be much larger than the site; it will replace the Lake Manawa area power center.

“The new one will be about 245,000 square feet a little bit bigger — about 76,000 square feet larger than the current facility,” said Courtney Harter, Council Bluffs Community Development Director.

Council Bluffs officials are hoping this new larger facility will attract more new business to this area.

“We fully expect in the not-too-distant future to start seeing other building construction applications coming in for permits, and so it should revitalize that area.”

City officials told 6 News that the new project will bring in more tax dollars to Council Bluffs. The mall generated $328,000 in taxes; the new Menards center will bring in $450,000 to the city.