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Rock Falls re-ups with development consultants

Firm has landed one contract, close to another

ROCK FALLS – The city has decided to extend the contract it entered into last year with its economic development consultants.

Owasso, Oklahoma-based Retail Attractions was hired last April 19 to market the city’s available land. Top priorities were to find a master developer for the riverfront and for prime retail land owned by the city along the interstate.

The contract signed last year included an option to extend the deal for up to 2 more years. The city will renew at last year’s price – $3,600 a month, which comes to $43,200 a year.

“This is a month-to-month pact, and the $15,000 we paid when services began last year were a one-time payment,” City Administrator Robbin Blackert said.

The City Council gave the extension its unanimous approval – not surprisingly, given the progress made in the past few months.

In late March, the city received the first draft of a sales contract for about 5.6 acres of land on East Second Street, including the Reliant slab area. Retail Attractions has been working with the prospective developer, 1768 Investments LLC, a subsidiary of GBT Realty Corp., based in Nashville, Tennessee.

The contract sets the sale price at $789,000. GBT and the city are in a 180-day due diligence period in which the property can’t be sold to anyone else, but either side can back out of the agreement.

The consultants have also told the city that there has been movement on finding a developer for the interstate land.

“Retail Attractions has brought us a sale offer on the riverfront, and said that in 4 to 5 months they should have a deal on the interstate property,” Blackert said. “This has been money well spent.”

The firm says being based in the Southwest isn’t a hindrance when working in the Midwest.

“Developers and retailers don’t want to know a town’s story, they want to know about the site, the cost, and their return on investment,” said Tim Reddock, a partner at the firm. “We work nationwide, and the dynamics are about the same in most cities.””

Retail Attractions works with other cities in Illinois, including Rock Island and LaSalle-Peru.


Firm: Retail Attractions LLC

Base: Owasso, Oklahoma

Principal owner: Rickey Hayes, former economic development director in Owasso

Resume: Working relationships with more than 50 developers and hundreds of restaurants, retailers and hotels

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