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Downtown Nixa commercial development aims for summer debut

Iron at the Crossroads seeks businesses to rent shipping containers

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Roughly a year after food hall and entertainment venue 14 Mill Market debuted in Nixa, developers of a next-door property are hoping for a summer launch of part of a 1-acre commercial development.

At 109 E. Mount Vernon St., crews with JD Wallace Contracting LLC recently completed parking lot paving in preparation for Iron at the Crossroads, said Mark Anderson, who co-owns and is developing the property with longtime friend Beau Mooneyham. The developers are seeking businesses to lease shipping containers that will serve as brick-and-mortar shops. Retail, restaurants and office spaces are all possibilities, said Anderson, a 20-year resident of the Christian County town.

“What we’re looking to do is to create a health, wellness, arts type of atmosphere,” he said of the downtown venture, which he and Mooneyham are developing via Hideaway Development LLC. “The vision is to give walkability to a creative and artistic vibe while supporting health and wellness.”

Anderson said they began accepting applications last month from businesses looking to fill repurposed shipping containers. The containers are 40 feet long with width options of 8 and 16 feet. Although declining to disclose the rent range, he said it will start at $1,100 per month. Seven units are planned, along with renovation and expansion of a former tool repair shop building on-site. Room for 23 parking spaces will be available.

“We’re open to what it might be now, but it will be part of the development,” he said of the building, noting HD Build LLC, which is co-owned by Mooneyham, is general contractor for Iron at the Crossroads.

The architect is Nixa-based Insight Design Architects LLC, Anderson said, adding the developers also had graphic design company Digital Quill Studio LLC create conceptual renderings for the project. He estimated startup costs, including purchase and infill work on the shipping containers, will be roughly $1.2 million. The development is buying its containers from BuiltBox LLC in Springfield.

Although he said several several undisclosed applicants have expressed interest in the development, Anderson said Dre’s Kitchen is the first tenant confirmed. The business, owned by Dre Irawan, operates in a Branson food truck park at 2166 State Highway 248. Anderson said the food truck’s menu, which includes sushi, stir-fried items and meats and vegetables cooked on a hibachi grill, will also be served in Nixa.

“The unit plan for Dre’s Kitchen is about 95% [complete] and will be submitted to the city within the next week or so,” Anderson said. “Once approval is received from the city, I would say it’ll take another couple of months from there.

“This summer, we hope to have at least the first unit open and working on the additional ones.”

Aside from Iron at the Crossroads, Anderson and his wife, Pamela, own several other Nixa properties, including 101 S. Main St., which formerly housed Morning Day Cafe. Anderson, who previously co-owned the Nixa eatery with Miranda Barchers before she exited the business last year, said he was unable to find another owner. That led him to permanently shutter the restaurant. However, he said a new tenant, Reeds Spring Pizza Co., is set to open in the space later this month. 

Unique addition
Much like the nearby 14 Mill Market food hall, Nixa Mayor Jarad Giddens said he sees Iron at the Crossroads helping boost Nixa with a unique attraction.

Giddens said the development is on a commercially zoned lot, which supports the venture’s planned usage.

“Considering building costs are high right now, I guess it is a cheaper way of someone actually getting a brick-and-mortar location,” he said of the shipping containers.

Giddens said it’s a positive sign to see new investments in the community, particularly if it’s something that can keep people shopping and buying local.

“One thing that I hear a lot that people in Nixa want more of is just things to do,” he said. “To provide another place for people to hang out, get together, eat, drink, watch a band or whatever it is, that’s definitely a bonus.”

While the lot, which Anderson said has mostly sat vacant for years, is small, Giddens said he’s glad to see someone find a use for it.

“This would be something to get the best use out of a small area,” he said of the development. “Nixa is very unique just in general on what they support as a community. As long as it’s something fun and good food, I feel like people will show up.”

Iron at the Crossroads wouldn’t be the only development utilizing shipping containers for business use. Metro Eats, a Springfield venture that opened in 2022, has several companies making use of them, such as coffee shop LoveCraft Farms.

Developing downtown
Rich and Leah Callahan, co-owners of 14 Mill Market, said they learned from Anderson about the concept over a year ago while they were developing their food hall, which opened in June 2023 and has 10 food vendors. While they weren’t aware of any food concepts being a part of the plans at the time, the Callahans support Iron at the Crossroads.

“We actually view it as a good thing,” Rich Callahan said. “We would like to see more business development down in Nixa, and we want to see a place where people will come out of Springfield and Republic and start visiting Nixa. Developing the whole [Highway] 14 and downtown corridor would be great for all of us.”

Anderson said he wants to be a complement to 14 Mill Market and is hopeful they can each draw traffic to Mount Vernon Street and the downtown district.

“I want to help bring more life downtown and into our community,” he said.

Leah Callahan said drawing traffic to downtown areas in healthy cities requires numerous businesses and attractions – even ones that might compete.

“We’ve never wanted to be the one destination for downtown Nixa as 14 Mill,” she said. “If it’s only one, you’re just not going to attract people from out of the area. We’re glad to have downtown become a place where there’s lots of restaurants, bars and activities for families. The key, though, is we would prefer those businesses to be more family oriented rather than some other retail spaces that cater to adults only.”

The Callahans recently became involved with the Downtown Nixa Revitalization Committee, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation, restoration and revitalization of downtown Nixa. Anderson was president of the organization for several years but said he recently stepped down from the leadership role, adding he plans to stay involved with the group in an advisory capacity.

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