Rottinghaus purchases former Sherman Nursery property
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul Rottinghaus of Charles City is hoping to take some property that’s just been sitting for seven years and make it useful again — and hopefully bring new industry to town.
“Basically, we’re going to do a total renovation and put that space to work,” Rottinghaus said. “It’s just been sitting there, idle.”
Rottinghaus, who owns Zips Truck Equipment in New Hampton, is one of the partners in Carlinda Limited Partnership, which just purchased 268 acres of property at the former Sherman Nursery/Bailey’s on the west side of Charles City. The other partners in Carlinda include his wife, Margo, and their children, Carolyn, Lindsey and David.
“We intend to develop that in a number of ways, depending on how aggressive we decide to get,” Rottinghaus said. “Our goal is it to renovate it to make it into a great space for some business to come in and use the space.”
The deal was closed last week.
“The Baileys have been great to work with. We bought it at a level where we can afford to make improvements and renovations, and develop the property,” Rottinghaus said. “We’ve done all our business in New Hampton. It will be nice to do something here in Charles City, where I’ve lived all my life.
The property has a long history. The Bailey Nurseries Charles City location, formerly known as Sherman Nursery, shut down in 2013 after more than 125 years, due to lack of demand for landscaping. Sherman Nursery was established in Charles City in 1884.
Bailey Nurseries, which is based in Minnesota, purchased the business in 1984, but it continued to operate as an independent wholesale supplier under the Sherman name.
Since the shutdown, the place has been vacant, although an office building and three stone bridges on the property were added to the National Register of Historic Places six years ago.
The two-story office building, which like the rest of the original buildings on the site was constructed from native limestone in Italian Renaissance style, opened in 1906. The three bridges on the property spanning Sherman Creek were built in 1902, 1910 and 1910 respectively. Rottinghaus said he intends to fix them up.
The property has a warehouse with 120,000 square feet of what once was refrigerated space, and more than 16,000 square feet of loading and shipping area. Rottinghaus said that he supposed it could be used for manufacturing, but it’s more suited for warehousing. The property also includes 18,000 square feet of greenhouses.
Rottinghaus was originally looking for a place for expansion for Zip’s, and stumbled across the property. He said he intends to put a couple of million dollars into upgrades in the warehouse to solve the water issues, hook up to city sewer, put in all new concrete, lighting and doors. He said the renovations will be made through the winter.
“We’re going to give the warehouse a complete renovation,” he said. “Our goal is to renovate it to make it into a great space for some business to come in and use the space. We’re going to try to bring some other industry into town.”
Rottinghaus said he also has longer term plans to put in an events center and make it a “destination-type” area that could have multiple events at once. He said he would address that once he gets the warehouse leased, a couple of years down the road.
“We’re hoping to work with local businesses on the events center,” Rottinghaus said. “We’re excited to do something in Floyd County that can include some local businesses and maybe create some jobs.”
Further down the road, Rottinghaus is also considering putting in a bridge to Highway 14 and possibly developing some residential properties.
“We could make some nice housing there,” he said. “Whatever we decided to to, it will be fun. I enjoy working on projects like this.”
Rottinghaus purchased Zip’s in 1986 and has expanded all departments, growing the firm from 15 employees to over 225 employees, working in five states, more than 60 of those from Floyd County. Zip’s Truck Equipment Inc. has grown to become one of the leading firms in the industry serving the Midwest and beyond with towing equipment and service support.