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Financial review of proposed 28-story high rise in Cedar Rapids delayed

Review of One Park Place now due by the end of October

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CEDAR RAPIDS — A financial viability analysis of what could be the tallest building ever in Cedar Rapids is running behind.

A three-month contract with New York-based National Development Council to assess the proposed $103 million, 28-story One Park Place called for a final review to be delivered by Aug. 31. That deadline has passed and the timeline has been extended two months to the end of October, city officials said.

“Staff is working closely with NDC,” Jennifer Pratt, Cedar Rapids community development director, said in an email. “While it is a complex project, the financial review is an iterative process which includes collecting data and evaluating possible scenarios. This was a mutually agreed upon extension.”

The proposed high rise with a grocery store, apartments, condos, hotel, parking and rooftop restaurant is proposed for city land at the east corner of First Street SE and Third Avenue SE near the Paramount Theatre. Cedar Rapids leaders required the proposal pass a financial vetting before formally giving the green light.

A status report for a first phase of the financial analysis, which was due by the end of June, came back positive calling One Park Place “viable.” However, the initial review triggered a second more detailed examination of all the elements of the project, such as proposed lease and rental rates, the market, public assistance options, debt capacity and acquisition of two additional private properties.

The probe is designed to give city officials a clearer picture of the developer’s financial assumptions about “costs, revenues, operating proformas, developer equity, etc.” and what is the true financial gap to bring the project to fruition. In other words, how much does the city need to contribute to make the project happen.

City officials balked at an initial request by developers Jesse Allen, of Allen Development in Iowa City, and Dave Zahradnik, Cedar Rapids-based principal architect at Neumann Monson Architects, for $23 million up front in public subsidies. City leaders have said they would likely provide some money up front but not that much.

Allen and Zahradnik could not be reached by The Gazette for comment.

If the project passes the second tier of review, the Cedar Rapids City Council would consider how to structure a public subsidy package and how much they’re willing to contribute.

If that happens, construction could begin in spring.

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