Project planners with DMACC and the Newton Development Corporation have brought Maytag Legacy Plaza a long way since the $9 million former Maytag corporate campus was gifted to the Newton community college in October 2016
According to DMACC Business Resources Executive Director Kim Didier, since former owner Reza Kargarzadeh handed over the keys, DMACC has added 12 leases and now hosts 13 businesses and rented 41,000 square feet.
“It’s incremental, piece by piece, and that’s the nature of economic development,” Didier said in a March 28 interview with Newton Daily News.
One of the latest additions is AreoCare USA, a medical supply company that is now providing it’s administrative support services in Legacy Plaza. They’re renting space on the fifth floor in Building 18 and have already expanded. They came in with 10 employees in 2018 and, according to Didier, are up to 15 people. The Atlanta-based company is new to Iowa and has expressed interest in continued expansion at Legacy Plaza, possibly up to 100 employees.
“The real hope is, like with AreoCare, they started with 10 people, and they’re up to 15, but that’s how things grow. You have to start small and we’re delighted to have them here and, as they succeed, we’re able to provide more space to them,” Didier said.
Attracting businesses like AreoCare is part of DMACC and NDC’s strategy for Legacy Plaza — a multi-use, multi-service campus that caters to retail, living, business service and lifestyle. Just in the last year, what was once an empty reminder of Newton’s former monolith with Maytag has seen several new businesses start. The Cellar Peanut Pub, Iowa Hunting Product, Edward Jones and Sequoia Fitness, just to name a few.
By May, Gezellig Brewing company will be putting their federal license and brewing tanks to work as it opens it’s new tap room.
“From the standpoint of the sustainability of the campus, having multiple users and multiple types of users, then this campus can remain a true asset to the community moving forward. There is a lot of risk when it’s a single use and one company,” Didier said.
That anchor will likely be residential, upscale living. Didier said DMACC and NDC are in talks now with a developer and potential investors, and they hope to make an announcement of a deal later this year with a company who will transform 70,000 square feet of building 16 into 80, market rate units. Upscale in look and fixtures, Didier and others feel housing will be the catalyst to really jumpstart high demand for space in Legacy Plaza.
“Anybody who would do it that we’re taking to would use historic tax credits, so there’s a time deadline on those,” Didier said.
Of course, Legacy Plaza is as much about the Newton community as a whole as it is a business development. DMACC and the NDC announced plans last year for a $12.5 million public green space on the southwest side of the Plaza with plans for walkways, water features, sculptures, seating and an amphitheater.
DMACC is in talks with the city on a way to tie in Newton’s hike and bike trails right into Legacy Plaza. At its April 7 meeting, the DMACC Board of Directors voted on requesting bids for the specification to install public restrooms in Building 18.
Didier said this type of forward thinking will benefit planners as they court large dollar donors and apply for grant funding to capitalize the greenspace project.
As Legacy Plaza continues to grow, another key for sustainability will be retention. One example of success Didier points to is Aureon.
Aureon IT Solutions already occupied the second floor of Building 18 when DMACC took over Legacy Plaza. The company has turned Newton into its showcase office space, installing all new carpeting and LED lighting, new cubicles, opening up the space and installing a glass barrier.
The office is nearly ready for public eyes, and Didier said she wants to use Aureon’s space to tout what Legacy Plaza can be for corporate clients.
“It looks fabulous. As soon as it’s done I really want to showcase it because it shows what the space can really look like,” Didier said.
Contact Mike Mendenhall at email@example.com