Altoona says retailer, convenience store, could be in River Prai - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Altoona says retailer, convenience store, could be headed into River Prairie District

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Altoona (WQOW) - Progress on a development that has been stagnant for years could be picking up speed. The city of Altoona says, commercial businesses are showing more interest in the River Prairie Development.

That area has been plagued for years with little development or growth, but the city says that's changing fast.

The mayor and the developer of the property say an 18,000 square foot retailer will be moving into the northwest quadrant of the River Prairie development, but wouldn't say what type of retailer.  A convenience store has also shown interest in the area. We could learn more about both those projects in the spring. Ultimately, the city hopes to create a sort of outdoor pedestrian mall, which they realize will take time to develop.

We're asking a retailer to do something that they typically don't do in this market. They want to be up by the road, they want to park and have a big parking lot, pull in, get out, and grab a shopping cart and go in. We're trying to encourage a concept that just hasn't been done here," says Dean Larsen, with Cedar Corporation.

 "We really have waited for a long time, and I think that we have reason to be optimistic," says Altoona Mayor Jack Blackburn.

At Thursday night's city council meeting, an updated plan for the district was shown, and it includes several new pieces, like a farmer's market, a hotel, and several more residential properties.

The city hopes to announce which businesses will be moving in by spring.

The city is also hoping to invite the public to a meeting about the updated plans, but a date for that hasn't been set yet.

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