City of Waterloo will buy former Wonder Bread bakery - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

City of Waterloo will buy former Wonder Bread bakery

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

The city of Waterloo is making a deal to buy a now-closed bakery.

City leaders have agreed to buy the former Hostess bakery in downtown Waterloo.

It closed in 2012.

The Wonder Bread building has sat empty since November 2012 when Hostess Brands filed for bankruptcy and closed the plant.

Flowers Foods bought it but has never done anything with it.

Now, the city is going to spend $400,000 on it because they say it fits in the city's plan for that part of downtown.

The building which used to make Wonder Bread was built in 1928.

It's been a major part of downtown since then, with sweet smells coming from the plant on most days.

But for the last 2 years, there have been no smells, no people, no action at the building.

City officials say its prime location makes it an attractive part of downtown.

"While we don't have any immediate use for it, we will have. It's a gem of a location, right in the heart of everything going on on the riverfront, the potential Courier block, that site will play an integral part as we develop our downtown and we prefer the city controls its destiny rather than a private owner," said Waterloo mayor Buck Clark.

Historic preservation leaders say they want the city not to tear down the building.

"The brickwork, the masonry work, that goes into that building is different. It's unusual for a lot of buildings you would see put up today. So there is that character we'd like to see saved in some way," said Historic Preservation Commission chairman Ed Ottesen.

The purchase agreement shows the city paying Flowers Foods $400,000 plus environmental and closing costs of $15,000 for title to the building and lot - which covers a city block.

"We're buying it for under assessed value. While we don't have any immediate plans for it, I would say the reason we don't have any immediate plans is because we want to make sure we do the right thing with that location," said Clark.

Clark says the city has courted Flowers Foods to try and put another bakery somewhere in Waterloo.

He says the building is "in pretty sad shape" so there are serious doubts as to whether anyone would want to come in to put another bakery in at that location.

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