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Encyclopedia Dubuque



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DUBUQUE BUILDING. Once the largest department store in Iowa. The completion of the building in July 1931 marked the end of one of Dubuque's most unique construction projects. The northern half of the building was built first while a four-story structure housing part of the ROSHEK'S DEPARTMENT STORE remained in operation at the southern end of the block adjacent to 7th Street. When the construction of the northern end was completed, the older building was demolished, and the southern half of the new building was completed.

The nine-story Dubuque landmark in its peak years was a full-service department store. It was also a popular meeting place for lunch. The Packet Room" featured marble-topped tables.

In 1968 Rosheks announced its plans to move to KENNEDY MALL. Nearly two years later, Edward SHEPPLEY of W. S. Sheppley and Company announced the purchase of the building with plans to offer office space on upper floors and a potential department store in the near future. The structure was renamed the Dubuque Building, and nearly $5 million in renovation was begun.

Photo courtesy: Bob Reding

In 1984 W.S. Sheppley and Company filed for protection under Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. In 1986 the Dubuque Building was sold to its largest tenant, CYCARE SYSTEMS, INC., for $5.7 million. The building was then 65 percent occupied with CYCARE using 40 percent of that space. In the early 1990s CYCARE Plaza was the single largest generator of first class mail in Iowa. The average annual electric bill was $180,000.

Once the Roshek Department Store, this landmark became known as the Dubuque Building.
The Roshek Bros. name was covered by plaques identifying the site as the Dubuque Building.

In January 2000 CyCare Plaza was renamed the Dubuque Building following the purchase of Cycare by HBO & Co. and its merger with McKesson Corporation.

On January 25, 2008 McKesson, a Fortune 20 health-care services company with revenues of $93 billion, announced that it would reduce its Dubuque operation and sell the building.

The lobby of the renovated Dubuque Building in 2009.
In 2009 city officials announced that IBM would locate their Dubuque operations to the Dubuque Building bringing hundreds of jobs to the city.

Dubuque Initiatives was the nonprofit semi-private organization that financed the restoration project, which totaled more than $40 million. The resulting renovation of the Dubuque Building demonstrated state-of-the-art examples of sustainability as materials were carefully reused and waste kept to a minimum. The renovation also included the installation of energy-efficient HVAC systems and low-flow restroom fixtures, the use of daylighting techniques and automatic light sensors, the use of low-VOC paints and adhesives and the incorporation of green-building operations techniques.

The developers were aiming for a silver designation in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program after finishing their overhaul of the former downtown department store. The project ended up with a platinum award, the highest LEED level that can be obtained. The project was assessed on sustainability, energy efficiency, water savings, materials selection and indoor environment quality before achieving platinum status. The award indicated the project was among the top 2 percent of energy-efficient buildings in the country, according to Gronen Restoration, which headed up the project.

The Roshek Building project was the first to achieve LEED platinum certification in the city of Dubuque and one of just four across Iowa. All of the other LEED platinum projects across the state were for new construction, according to Gronen Restoration.

IBM was awarded LEED gold certification for a commercial interior, which Tom Coffas said fit with that company's focus on being environmentally friendly. Coffas, the Dubuque delivery center executive site director for IBM, noted the company's global sustainability efforts in the Smarter Planet program and the local equivalent, Smart Sustainable Dubuque.