Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 07, 2012 6:30 AM

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Local co-op in financial trouble

New Pioneer has signed an option-to-buy pay-agreement for the Coralville store. If we are unable to exercise the option when it comes due, New Pioneer will eat that cost and continue to be renters well into the future.

Remodeling of the Coralville store was a priority of the board until it got the idea of relocating to the intersection of Gilbert and College Streets. Will that remodeling occur while New Pioneer is attempting to save the money to make a multimillion dollar down payment on a mortgage for the proposed new store?

Only 8 percent of members spend more than $2,000 a year at both stores combined. The mortgage payments could well be more than $300,000 per year — principal plus interest. Over the course of 25 years, we would pay a mortgage company more than $8 million, with $3.3 million of that being interest.

Our taxes will be considerably higher, we will need more employees, there will be parking costs of $70 to $80,000 per year, and there will be condominium fees to pay.

I don't want my co-op to be on the ground floor of an eight-story building. I don't fear flooding or Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. I do fear on-line shopping where one can buy almost anything sold at New Pioneer for considerably less with free delivery right to the door.

Finally, I do not like the feeling that the board seems to be pushing this project on us in an optimistic belief that we can spend this amount of money and survive financially. Financial predictions are like anything else in life: They can turn out to be true, or they can turn out to be wrong. There is simply no guarantee of this project's viability, and the risk of losing everything appears too great.

I believe that New Pioneer co-op should stay in its present location in Iowa City and direct planning toward the goal of opening a third store on the East Side of town.

Carol deProsse
Iowa City resident

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