Western Mall anchors development in Southend

Once a slaughterhouse, today the Western Mall houses a variety of retail, service and commercial businesses. Photo by Jim Elias

There’s a little bit of everything in the Western Mall on Oregon Street in Muscatine’s Southend.
Built in the early 20th century with history as a cattle and chicken slaughterhouse, today the Western Mall houses a variety of retail, service and commercial businesses.

“I want to make sure it has diverse businesses in the building,” said developer Tom Meeker.

The mall is home to Izalco’s Restaurant, Riots and Rebelles Salon, Family Resources offices, Land of Oz Arcades showroom, Pearl City Motors, and a Zachary recruiting office.
Meeker said one end of the building will be available soon that includes an 8,000-square-foot loading dock and a 14×14 overhead door.

At the opposite end, Jeff Kilburn at Pearl City Motors shows off his service/wash bay, “Here’s where they used to process chickens.”

“It’s a good location with the big industries in the Southend,” says Kilburn. “I have about a 15-car lot, and there’s good traffic that comes by every day.”

In the Land of Oz Arcades next door, Mike Rankins uses his space as a retail showroom for his built-from-scratch arcade game replicas, table-top and floor standing Wizard Dart cabinets, and vintage skateboard decks. Rankins also has a workshop in the building for some fabrication and assembly of his products but does most of his manufacturing at his warehouse on the north side of Muscatine.

Meeker said he bought the Western Mall about three years ago around the same time he bought the old Garfield School and a 27,000 square-foot warehouse in the Southend.

In addition to Meeker’s developments, the Muscatine Southend as seen other redevelopments along its Grandview Avenue. Dollar General, White Oak Station, Red Berry Café and Grandview Mart have all been opened within the last year.

Grandview Avenue (U.S. Highway 61 and State Highway 92) is scheduled for a major update starting in the spring of 2020. The project is planned to have a similar scope and impact as the Mississippi Drive Corridor project completed this year in downtown. According to the City of Muscatine, the Grandview Avenue Corridor Revitalization Project will hold a public meeting in December concerning the project with DOT bid letting scheduled for Jan. 21.

Meeker and other Southend business owners are hopeful the Grandview Avenue corridor improvements will mean even more growth and economic development for the area.

“I’m glad it’s happening,” said Meeker. “I think the Southend will come around and I’m just happy to be a part of it.”