Von Maur has opened its doors in Coralville. The new anchor store means a big step forward for Iowa River Landing, an area the Coralville City Council has been working to develop for decades.
"We have already had a lot of businesses contact us now that we have Von Maur open and ready to go because now they want to be here as well," said Coralville Mayor Jim Fausett.
Von Maur officials said they had been looking to leave their location at Sycamore Mall in Iowa City because the space wasn't big enough and didn't provide enough visibility.
The new location is right off Interstate-80. Coralville leaders offered millions of dollars in tax incentives to get Von Maur to open in Coralville after closing doors in Iowa City.
"That's a fight that took place and a disagreement that took place. Once that's done, it's done and you move forward."" said Iowa City City Manger Tom Markus.
Coralville used Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to get the new store. The Von Maur debate, and other cases like it in the state, led to TIF reform in the Iowa Legislature. The new law, which passed in 2012, has an "anti-piracy" provision that prevents a city from using TIF to get a company to relocate without permission from the company's current city.
"(It's) communicating if a business has an interest in expanding or relocating, how that's going to be handled, is there going to be incentives given or not," said Markus.
Iowa City, Coralville, and North Liberty now have a verbal understanding that city leaders will communicate with one another before a store relocates.
Coralville leaders think the incentives given to Von Maur will be worth it.
"I think in the long run it's going to pay off," said Fausett.
Store officials say the new location is better for customers. "We're carrying more merchandise and the store will be a little more shop-able so we're excited about that," said Jim von Maur, President.
Coralville leaders are excited to see their dreams for Iowa River Landing coming true.