CEDAR RAPIDS — Four developments worth a combined $30 million — promising a massive new affordable housing complex, market rate duplexes in a challenged part of town, and a used car dealership — sailed through the Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday.
The council reviewed the plans because the developers are seeking public incentives. The city has a prescribed program for awarding incentives if projects meet certain public needs.
“People believe in the community and are investing money,” Mayor Brad Hart said. “The incentives we have allow people to plan ahead on their investments. There’s no good ol’ boy network here.”
16th Avenue affordable housing
The largest project is TWG Development’s $19.2 million 150-unit apartment complex at 5200, 5220 and 5300 16th Avenue SW near Johnson Avenue SW.
TWG, whose executives are not disclosed in state filing, promise 150 affordable units for those earning as low as 60 percent of the average median income, which was $55,359 as of 2016, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
The project includes two four-story buildings with a mix of one- and two-bedrooms, a pool and playground, and 199 parking spaces.
On tap is a 10-year, 100 percent exemption of the increased taxes generated by the improvements worth an estimated $2 million.
A row of six duplex units are slated for Ellis Boulevard NW just north of O Avenue NW.
Council members were pleased to see investment in this part of town, which may have been the hardest hit by the flood and has been slowest to recover, with empty lots still dominating some areas.
“This particular area has pretty much sat for the last 10 years after we had purchased many of those homes,” council member Ann Poe said. “This is a huge, huge step forward for this section of our community and the Time Check area.”
Joe Ahmann’s Depot Development is behind the $2.5 million project, which features six duplexes, or 12 total units, double-stall garages, a front courtyard and rooftop decks.
The council supported the request for a 10-year, 100 percent tax break on new value, which is standard for urban housing developments. The city did not include an estimated value of the incentive.
The development is at 1606, 1614, 1618, 1626, 1628, 1632, 1634, 1642 and 1646 Ellis Boulevard NW.
These were all city-owned lots, purchased as buyouts after the flood. The Depot project was favored over a second unnamed proposal.
Council member Scott Overland questioned the purchase price of $65,000 total for all eight lots.
Pratt said the price was based on appraised value, and the money is returned to the federal disaster recovery program, which paid for the land.
McGrath Automotive Group is planning to build a $6.3 million, 10,100 square foot used car dealership at 1510 Collins Rd. NE on land the city recently sold to McGrath.
The council supported a declining scale incentive under the city’s brownfield/grayfield incentive program, starting at an 80 percent tax exemption and declines to a 20 percent exemption over 10 years. The total value of the exemption was not identified.
The award is contingent on McGrath removing the old 51st Street NE, which was recently realigned.
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The council also backed a proposal from 1825 LLC, which is headed by local developer Hunter Park, for a $2 million redevelopment of a commercial building or warehouse at 1825 Edgewood Rd. SW, which formerly housed Fleck Sales.
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