New look for NE Cedar Rapids corner

Former Cellar Door, nearby buildings bought, remodeled

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Three commercial buildings at or near the corner of First Avenue and 29th Street NE in Cedar Rapids are getting a face-lift and new tenants.

901 Oakland Investment LC, a partnership of Scott E. Olson, Scott Olson II and Jim Ackley, has purchased the historic Scalaro Building at 2900 First Ave. NE, and two nearby buildings at 2912 First Ave. NE and 112 29th St. NE.

Interior and exterior renovation work, including new windows, paint, mechanical and electrical systems, and a new connected parking lot layout should be completed in November, according to Scott E. Olson, a commercial Realtor and member of the Cedar Rapids City Council.

“We wanted to preserve this iconic corner of buildings,” Olson said. “While there were some potential buyers who wanted to demolish the buildings, there was not enough land to construct a new building of any size and parking to make it financially viable.”

The Scalaro Building was constructed in 1926 for a neighborhood grocery store. Two apartments on the second floor of the building have been extensively remodeled and windows have been added.

Debra Langguth, owner of Bargains Galore Thrift Shop & More, has leased the first floor of the Scalaro building.

Langguth said the store’s inventory will come from garage sales, Craigslist and Facebook. She expects to open for business in mid-October.

“I’ve been trying to find a suitable location for about three years,” she said. “Since the Cellar Door was there for many years, I felt it was a proven location for that kind of business.”

Customers donating items for sale to benefit the Cedar Valley Human Shelter can have them marked for that purpose, Langguth said. When the item is sold, a portion of the proceeds will go to the not-for-profit organization.

For many years, Peg’s Salon was located behind the Scalaro Building in a yellow building at 112 29th St. NE. The fact that a well-known beauty salon was a previous tenant prompted Terra Keller to lease the space for her business, Mane Love Salon.

“We are using all the existing vanities and sinks,” Keller said. “Not a lot of remodeling was involved, but there was a lot of hard work.”

Keller has leased two chairs to other beauticians and has two available for lease. Keller has been a beautician for about 13 years, but Mane Love Salon is her first business venture.

The building also houses an efficiency apartment, which has been leased for many years.

Alicia Penning, owner of Junque Tiquery, has leased a building across the parking lot at 2912 First Ave. NE. The store sells vintage repurposed furniture, seasonal, new and used home decor.

Penning previously owned a similar store in Carroll, Iowa, for 13 years before moving to the Cedar Rapids area.

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