The nation’s largest small-box discount retailer has expressed interest in a move to “The City on the Move,” the City of Fennimore’s Plan Commission learned last week.
Dollar General, which has more than 11,800 stores in 43 states, is eyeing land north of Fennimore, presently owned by Bill Fischer.
“I started working with Bill Fischer about a year-and-a-half ago on an electric easement to convert our overhead to underground up there,” Director of Public Works Dennis Biddick told members of the Plan Commission during a meeting Thursday evening, March 12. “Then he started talking about how he would like to develop some of that land along the highway.
“So in the last year-and-a-half we have been talking back-and-forth, and he got a developer involved. He is not a true developer, he puts deals together. What they have on the table right now is Bill Fischer has an offer on the table from Dollar General.”
Garritt Bader of GB Real Estate Investments later joined the meeting via a conference call.
“Generally speaking, we try to find sites on which we can open new retail stores,” Bader explained. “Several years ago we started looking at Fennimore as a possible market for Family Dollar. That deal eventually fell apart, but what we now have is an opportunity to work with Dollar General, which is why we kept on this site, trying to make a deal happen here.”
Fischer has expressed interest in annexing 40 acres of land to the City.
“The idea is that we somewhat plan for it, knowing that this could happen down the road,” Bader said. “The 40 acres would come in now, but we would like to develop that immediate southeast corner which would include part of that access road and possibly another site immediately to the north of that.
“We know for sure that we have one user right now, in Dollar General. As we are progressing, as construction starts, more users could show interest or more users could come to the table. But we don’t have those right now. The idea is to build as we have interest.”
There are 122 Dollar General stores in Wisconsin, including four locations in Grant County (Boscobel, Lancaster, Platteville and Cuba City).
Biddick told the Plan Commission that at the present time, there is an allowance for one access point along Highway 18 in the 40 acres in question.
“One of the next steps, I would write a letter to DOT requesting that we move the current location of the driveway to wherever we decide the new street intersection should be,” he said.
The idea of annexation was met with approval by those in attendance.
“I’m all for it,” Plan Commission member Tom Newberry said.
The Common Council will consider the access point and annexation during its semi-monthly meeting on Monday, March 23.