Main Street Coon Rapids receives $75,000 Challenge Grant for Syngenta building renovation; Coon Rapids Hardware Hank to expand into renovated building
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October 21, 2020 (COON RAPIDS) - The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded Main Street Coon Rapids (MSCR) a $75,000 Challenge Grant for the Coon Rapids Hardware Hank expansion into the Syngenta building.
Coon Rapids Hardware Hank owners Duane, Robyn and Adam Esdohr plan to transform the 19,000 SF former Syngenta customer service office building on the corner of Main Street and Sixth Avenue into a retail center. Once renovated, the space will contain four showrooms, warehouse, cold storage, service department and office suites. Renovation of this commercial property will transform a vacant building and dilapidated parking lot into a jewel for downtown Coon Rapids. Restoring this building will not only save it from further decline, but will allow the hardware store to expand and triple in size and product offerings.
“We are deeply honored to receive this award from Main Street Iowa and grateful to the Esdohrs for the very large investment they are making in downtown Coon Rapids,” said MSCR Executive Director Katie Mason. “This project is a prime example of how a business can leverage the Main Street program to turn an idea or dream into a reality.”
Main Street Iowa Challenge Grants are available only to Main Street Iowa communities, and the application process requires a substantial commitment of time and energy. Applying for the Challenge Grant was a joint effort between Duane Esdohr and Mason which took nearly six months to complete. The application requires renovation blueprints, budgets, business proformas, community impact statements and public/private partnership documentation, among other things.
The Challenge grant, which awards up to $75,000 towards a project, also requires a 1:1 cash match and scores higher when leveraged with multiple funding partners. The Coon Rapids City Council agreed to provide $37,500 in TIF funds towards the 1:1 match. Esdohrs have secured funding for the remaining renovation costs which are expected to be $275,891.
“This is no small undertaking for the Esdohrs, and the city council saw the value to both the community and the hardware store that this project will create. The city and MSCR’s involvement are a great example of a public-private partnership,” said Mason.
For their piece of the partnership, MSCR not only secured the Challenge Grant funds, but is also working with Syngenta representatives to transfer ownership of the customer service center to Esdohrs. Syngenta offered to donate the building to the city or another qualified non-profit late last spring. MSCR, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, will take possession of the building as part of that agreement and then transfer the property to Esdohrs for expansion of the Coon Rapids Hardware Hank store.
This year, Main Street Iowa received a total of 29 applications requesting over $1.8 million in grant funds.?The grant applications were very strong, and the scoring process was extremely competitive. With $925,000 in the Challenge Grant funding pool this year, MSI was able to offer grant awards to 14 projects.
“The Main Street Iowa Challenge grants have been instrumental in revitalizing Iowa’s historic main streets,” said IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Director Debi Durham. “Reinvesting in our traditional commercial districts is good business. It’s good for our economy and good for our state. These projects will bring new businesses and new residents to our downtown districts.”
The grants are administered through IEDA’s Iowa Downtown Resource Center and Main Street Iowa programs. The funding will be distributed in the form of matching grants to the selected Main Street programs. The estimated total project cost of these 14 projects is over $3.2 million.
“Each project must provide at least a dollar-for-dollar cash-match,” said Michael Wagler, state coordinator for the Main Street Iowa program. “In total, these projects will actually leverage significantly more than the state’s investment into bricks and mortar rehabilitation. This investment will have a significant economic impact within each district.”
Since the first Challenge Grants were awarded in 2002, approximately $11.6 million in state and federal funds have leveraged more than $59 million in private investment. Over the life of the program, 193 projects in 56 Main Street Iowa commercial districts across the state have received funding.