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The Former Wonder Bread Factory is Transformed into a New Brewery

Waterloo, IA

The former Wonder Bread factory located in downtown Waterloo, Iowa, shuttered its operations in November 2012 amidst bankruptcy proceedings. City officials worked with several stakeholders, including the historic preservation committee and Main Street Waterloo, to identify a potential re-use to transform the 0.94-acre site. Built in 1927, the vacant building occupied an entire block within the community’s urban core adjacent to public facilities such as the library, hockey arena, children’s museum, and public market.

Contamination concerns created anxieties for potential investors. Historical uses surrounding the site included an engine manufacturer, gas stations, dry cleaner, and bulk oil company. The City contracted HR Green to complete Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) and for proper closure of two large storage tanks underground.

This work allowed the City to satisfy its Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), due diligence prior to acquiring the property and the investigations cleared the former bakery for redevelopment. HR Green was able to help Waterloo secure $23,000 from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Section 128-A program for the Phase I ESA and an asbestos survey/abatement.

The massive rehabilitation of the former Wonder Bread factory returned the building to its 1950s glory. It re-opened its doors in April 2017 as Single Speed Brewing Co. featuring a beer production operation, restaurant, tap room, and coffee shop while guaranteeing to maintain at least $3 million in assessed value.

As Waterloo’s preferred environmental consultant, HR Green has worked with staff to identify, prioritize, assess, conduct redevelopment planning and remediation activities on several key parcels including the Wonder Bread factory. In fact, our firm has helped the City secure 60 EPA grants totaling over $15 million. Visit Waterloo’s project website (www.thenewwaterloo.com) to review more of our collaborative efforts.

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