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Southeast Iowa Development Center More Expensive than Anticipated

Jason Parrott
The renovations to the Southeast Iowa Development Center in Keokuk will be more expensive than anticipated.

The city of Keokuk will have to spend more money than anticipated on some planned renovations to the proposed Southeast Iowa Development Center, which will be located at 1417 Exchange Street.

The city budgeted $2.4-million to renovate the former office complex, which was donated to the city by a local industry several years ago. The city borrowed $1.4-million and secured a $1-million federal grant to pay for the planned improvements.

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said that was a preliminary estimate. He said once engineers and architects completed a more thorough review, the anticipated price tag increased to about $3.1-million.

O’Donnell said the city can absorb the added increase in part because of an insurance claim from a recent lightning strike at the complex, where the city lost the HVAC equipment.

“That was for like $134,000.” said O’Donnell. “We are going to use some excess TIF funds for this year and then we are going to borrow some money from our capital projects fund in order to make up the difference.”

O’Donnell said the capital projects fund will be paid back from tax revenues generated by the business center and from rent paid by the companies locating there.

The city hired Schickendanz Construction out of Fort Madison to renovate the building. It submitted the lowest of three bids at $3,150,100.

O’Donnell said the work includes removing asbestos, upgrading reception areas, repairing the roof, creating a new entrance, and replacing electrical, plumbing and heating/air conditioning units. He said businesses that locate in the Southeast Iowa Development Center would have the option to improve their spaces as desired.

O’Donnell said several businesses have expressed an interest in the site, including one company that he said is interested in the entire complex.

“We are working with all those companies so we can get someone in there, but it would be great to get one group in the entire building.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.