With the walls rising on a new HomeGoods store at Elmore Marketplace in Davenport, the four-year-old hotel/retail development is nearing its full build-out, developers said.
HomeGoods, a brand of global off-price retailer TJX Cos. Inc., will occupy a 22,000-square-foot store now under construction by Heart of America Group, or HOA. The standalone store is going up between Beauty Brands and the J Bar, located within HOA's Holiday Inn & Suites.
"I think HomeGoods is the missing element in Elmore Marketplace that we needed. That's why we continued to pursue them," HOA founder and owner Mike Whalen said.
In March, when he first announced HomeGoods' impending arrival, Whalen said his company had worked at least three years to attract the home fashions store to the Quad-Cities. The closest HomeGoods stores now are in Cedar Rapids and Coralville, Iowa, as well as Peoria.
"All the stores were well received, but I've probably had more people over the years ask me if we can get a HomeGoods than any other store," he said, adding that the reaction also has been the strongest.
"I've had quite a few people stop me and say 'Oh, my wife loves HomeGoods' or (female shoppers) tell me 'I love HomeGoods,'" he said. "That's an exciting thing in an age when retail is pretty challenging."
Whalen said the fact the retailer is new to the Quad-Cities and the store's size are generating excitement. "The next question — is there anybody else people think we should be getting in?"
Ajay Singh, HOA's vice president of brand development, said the HomeGoods store essentially completes Elmore Marketplace. "We may have one or two options left to extend, but this rounds out a large part of the development," he said.
He added that for "the right tenant" the project could add on to the existing retail stores. "But I don't think we have room for a standalone," Singh said.
It is the first lease agreement between HomeGoods and HOA, a Moline-based hospitality, development and construction company. But Singh said the company is approaching HomeGoods about some of its other developments.
With completion of HomeGoods in the fall, the $50 million Elmore Marketplace will have added 93,580 square feet of new retail to the Elmore Avenue corridor as well as its Holiday Inn and J Bar. The hotel anchor, which represents about half of the total investment, opened in 2014 with the first phase of retail stores.
Meanwhile, construction on the $4 million HomeGoods store is moving forward to an October opening. Heart of America is the general contractor.
"Obviously, they want to take advantage of the fall and holiday selling seasons," Singh said.
"We're taking a slice of the playbook we've used to construct some of our hotels" by using insulating concrete forms, or ICFs, construction, he added.
Using pre-manufactured foam forms shipped to the work site, Singh said, "We stack those like Lego blocks. Once those blocks are put together, there is a cavity and it's filled with concrete."
The ICF construction method "provides two important benefits," he said. One is the time savings for the actual construction, "but also you end up with a stronger R-Value (insulating value). Depending on the project's size and scope, it takes a week or several weeks off construction."
The new store will be fifth Iowa store for HomeGoods, which provides home fashions from around the world at off-price costs. Its Iowa stores are in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Cedar Falls.
It is a sister store to TJX Cos. Inc.'s other brands: T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Sierra Trading Post and Homesense in the United States. The HomeGoods brand will grow from 579 U.S. stores to 667 at the end of fiscal 2018.
TJX operates more than 3,800 stores in nine countries and employs about 235,000 associates worldwide.
At Elmore Marketplace, HomeGoods joins a lineup of these retailers that includes Beauty Brands, Charming Charlies, Gap Factory Store, Banana Republic Factory Store, Lane Bryant, Carter's, DSW, Pier 1 Imports, Mattress Firm, Ann Taylor LOFT Outlet and Fleet Feet.
Singh said Elmore Marketplace shoppers also hopefully will see a new digital sign soon advertising the stores. "We have a lot of (store) tenants tell us consumers have trouble finding them because there is no signage along Elmore," he said.
He said the topography with the stores sitting on a hill above Elmore as well as how the stores face into the center of the development impacts visibility.
Currently, HOA is working with the city of Davenport on permitting for the sign.
"Our goal is to have the new monument signage erected in July," he said.