The former Wonder Bread shuttered its operations in November 2012 amidst bankruptcy proceedings.  Built in 1927, the vacant building occupies an entire city block within Waterloo’s urban core adjacent to numerous public facilities including the library, children’s museum, and public market.  City officials worked with several key stakeholders, including the historic preservation committee and Main Street Waterloo, to identify a potential re-use for the 0.94-acre site; however, contamination concerns created anxieties for potential investors.   Historical uses surrounding the site include an engine manufacturer, gas stations, dry cleaner, and bulk oil company.  The City acquired the property in 2014 after completing its environmental due diligence in the form of Phase I and II ESAs.  The investigations did not identify any impairments and thus cleared the former bakery for redevelopment.

Project Funding Sources


Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR)

Section 128-A


Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA)

Main Street Iowa Grant

Project Timeline

12.2014 | ARTICLE
City acquires former Wonder Bread facility.

09.2015 | ARTICLE
City Council approves development agreement for the project.

10.2015 | ARTICLE
Project awarded $75,000 Main Street Iowa grant.

01.2016 | ARTICLE
City transfers deed of building to SingleSpeed.

Project Success Story

The former Wonder Bread building is being redeveloped into a brewery set to open in late 2016.  A development agreement donates the building to a local brewery, provides $160,000 to demolish an attached building, and rebates 70% of property taxes for 15 years.  The developer agreed to renovate the former bakery into a production operation, restaurant, tap room, and two additional storefronts while guaranteeing to maintain at least a $3 million assessed value.