River front property lease rates to rise in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

River front property lease rates to rise in Dubuque

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- A 40 plus year lease is expiring for businesses along the Mississippi River. Now the City of Dubuque is negotiating raising rent. More than 40 years ago the City of Dubuque leased property along the river to companies like Cargill, Gavilon and Koch. This year the first of those leases is set to expire. But one property in particular could effect salt availability in the Tri-states.

It's a prime location for business, especially for those who use the river. North and south of the Port of Dubuque sit two industrial parks. South Port and Dove Harbor. The south is mostly privately owned. Dove harbor is owned by the City of Dubuque.

"Most of the river front property that's owned by the city has been leased," said Economic Development Director David Heiar.

And these properties have been leased for more than 40 years. But a lot can change in 40 years, including the price to lease property in prime locations like this.

"We've certainly have had discussions and attempted to negotiated with tenants in hopes that we can extend a market rate lease as opposed to a discounted rate," said Heiar.

But one business wasn't able to reach an agreement. On March 14th, 2010, Gavilon's lease on it's Purina Drive location expired. A company spokes person says the termination will bring an end to salt storage in Dubuque. And impact the Tri-state significantly. The city says they will most likely continue to use this property for industrial business and says if a business isn't willing to pay the new price of a lease, they say they'll find another business to replace it that will likely utilize the river nearby.

"The intent is to get a better return for the citizens of Dubuque who own that property," said Heiar.

The current property on here at Dove Harbor is zoned for industrial purposes. Heiar says the city will continue to follow that.

"They've gotten some extremely good lease rates over the last 50 years," said Heiar.

He says currently the city is loosing money on some river front properties. Companies like Gavilon say no salt storage in Dubuque could impact next years winter, but city officials aren't worried.

"The intent is that we continue to use it in a similar fashion as we do now, it may be with the same tenants and it may not be with the same tenants," said Heiar.

Gavilon says they continue to lease two properties in Dubuque but have ended salt storage. The two leases are up in 2021 and 2022. The city is still negotiating lease rates for other properties along the river.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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