COUNCIL BLUFFS — An official with Menards confirmed Monday that the company has purchased Mall of the Bluffs and plans to tear down the mall and build a “bigger and better store.”

“We have loved doing business in Council Bluffs for over 25 years now, but our existing facility is small and dated, and (we) believe a bigger and better store will better serve the needs and tastes of the citizens of this community, plus create many new job opportunities,” Menard Inc. spokesperson Jeff Abbott said in an email.

He also said the company will have new lease space and outlying-lot opportunities available for other businesses but declined to say whether any of the existing structure would be preserved.

Abbott said the project would help “revitalize” the area.

An agreement the company made in September with the Council Bluffs Community School District, which owns the former Target building, said Menard Inc. planned to acquire about 48 acres of property at the mall. Woodsonia Real Estate of Omaha is apparently handling the purchase.

Several tenants at the mall have said they received notices telling them they need to vacate the building by the end of the year or sooner, possibly indicating that Menards plans to begin demolition this winter. Bryon Beins, co-owner of Madness Haunted House, was told that Woodsonia would take possession of it Nov. 15.

Mitch Streit, store director of the Madison Avenue Hy-Vee, said the store has been using the half of the former Sears building, partially occupied by the U.S. Postal Service, for storage and was told in November that it would have to move items out by Dec. 31.

Istanbul Gyro Baklava closed its booth in the food court the week of Nov. 18, becoming the first business in the mall to close since the revelation in September of Menards’ plans to acquire the mall and replace it with a new Menards store.

The Iowa Department of Transportation driver’s license station at the mall will move to a different parcel on the property, according to Darcy Doty, director for driver and identification services for the department. She said the planned move would happen sometime in 2020.

Photos: A look back at the Mall of the Bluffs over the years

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