183 apartments proposed near Rockwell Collins

Rendering of the proposed project.
Rendering of the proposed project.

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two out-of-state development firms hope to build nearly 200 housing units off Blairs Ferry Road NE near Rockwell Collins where the developers think nearby retail and industry present a ready market.

Anthony Properties Realty, of Dallas, is asking the Cedar Rapids City Council to rezone 13.4 acres of land for 183 apartment units. Perry Reid Properties, of Lincoln, Neb., is partnering on the project.

Neither firm has worked in Cedar Rapids before, though Perry Reid has developed hundreds of apartments in Sioux City, Johnston and West Des Moines, among other Iowa locations.

“We still have some work to do,” said Alex Perry, who works with Perry Reid. “There (are) two sites that would be combined as one with higher-end apartments there. ... Hopefully, we can get started in spring of 2018.”

The two properties nearly abut at the end of Rockwell and Ridgemount drives NE near Dry Creek, where a Rockwell Collins facility, several apartment complexes, an assisted-living facility, single-family homes, St. Andrews Golf Club and Target are within walking distance.

The City Planning Commission last month recommended rezoning properties on Ridgemount Drive from a community commercial zone to a multiple family residence zone. It also recommended rezoning the land on Rockwell Drive from an office/service zone to multiple family residence zone.

The commission also recommended a reduced parking variance, and city staff plan to require a traffic study.

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The City Council plans a public hearing and consideration of the first of three rezoning votes on Tuesday.

At 6420 Rockwell Dr. NE, 99 multifamily residential units would be included in three three-story buildings on 9.01 acres with 173 parking spaces. Concept renderings show balconies, garages and each building with 18 one-bedroom units and 15 two- or three-bedroom units.

At 6025 Ridgemount Dr. NE, 84 multifamily residential units would be included in three three-story buildings on 4.4 acres with 155 parking spaces.

A clubhouse with a pool, exercise room and a bar and kitchen area would be available to both properties.

Rents would range from $850 to $1,400, depending on the size of the unit, Perry said.

The estimated $20 million project may qualify for local tax incentives under the city’s economic development plan for urban housing. Developers can get 10 years tax-free for housing projects in commercial areas near large employers and major amenities, such as near Lindale Mall, Rockwell Collins and Westdale.

Even if the rezoning is approved, the project is not a done deal, Perry said.

United Technologies’ proposed acquisition of Rockwell Collins was “concerning,” although, Perry said, his company believes a strong demand would remain even if Rockwell’s corporate headquarters move.

A strong “submarket,” with a demand for workforce housing, made Cedar Rapids attractive, and the state has incentivized workforce housing through tax credits, Perry said.

Scott Olson, a City Council member and commercial broker, considered the development large for Cedar Rapids but reflective of demand for apartments with amenities.

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“The demand is out there for, not just Rockwell, but a number of the businesses there,” Olson said.

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