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Mason City Shopko property changes hands

From the North Iowa's most-read stories of 2019 series

Months after the announcement came that all Shopko locations would be closing by summer 2019, some of the discount retailer's assets have found a new home. 

In Mason City, there was a property transfer of Shopko Stores Operating Co. LLC to Cool Investment LLC for a total of $275,000. 

According to reporting from the Milwaukee Business Journal, Cool Investment LLC is registered to Jeffrey Fry, who is also the registered agent for Fry Investment Co., of Scottsdale, Arizona.

More than 60 properties were featured in an auction of Shopko assets and, per the Milwaukee Business Journal's August story, "15 bids were submitted for various properties and parcels." Cool Investment had a $3.5 million stalking-horse bid. 

In April, not long after the closing announcement, USA Today had word that a pair of New York investment firms were buying more than 75 Shopko stores, as well as the headquarters, to lease, redevelop or sell the properties.

Monarch Alternative Capital lined up to hold the real estate portfolio while Raider Hill Advisors was tapped to oversee the leasing and sale of properties. 

According to North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Chad Schreck, what was moved was the land and not the building. (The Beacon Schneider property search website lists a "615 SOUTH MONROE OZ, LLC" out of New York as the deed holder for the specific Shopko address.)

"It looked what transferred is land next to the store," Schreck said.

He continued that the group he heads up has tried to help with determining what the best use and what the best tenant might be but that most of the retailers that would take up that kind of footprint are obviously struggling right now. 

"It’s gonna be a matter of finding the right tenants and the right fit."

Within the past week, Bomgaars, the Sioux City-based retail outfit, lined up to purchase two former Shopko locations in southeastern Minnesota (per The Globe in Worthington, Minnesota).

At the same time, there's been a spate of movement for the still-operating Shopko Optical. 

A storefront in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin had a minor relocation while four others in the Fox Cities area of Wisconsin shifted locations (according to The Appleton Post-Crescent). 

The Mason City Shopko opened in 1985 at 615 S. Monroe Ave. and employed 260 people at that time.

Then-Mayor Ken Kew cut the ribbon at the grand opening along with Shopko officials Joe Meurer and Dale Strain who all called the event a "huge success."

About $7 million of Shopko's money was invested in the 90,800-square-foot storefront, and Mason City issued at least $585,000 in general obligation bonds to pay for the land, buildings and on-site preparation.

Fry Investment Co. representatives have not returned messages for comment.  

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Reach Reporter Jared McNett at 641-421-0527. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @TwoHeadedBoy98. 


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