PCI could get $9.5M for expansion in Cedar Rapids

Money would be used to build parking ramp as part of $30M project

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Cedar Rapids would cover the cost of Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa’s new $9.5 million parking ramp under a plan receiving initial approval by the Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday.

PCI has proposed a $30 million expansion project including a 98,000-square-foot, three-story medical office building at 275 10th St. SE, and a 540-space parking ramp at 1055 Third Ave. SE, but asked Cedar Rapids to cover the cost of the parking ramp. PCI has become an anchor in an area dubbed the MedQuarter or MedQ.

“This really serves to increase the availability of redevelopment in the MedQ and maximizes the density,” said Caleb Mason, an economic development specialist for the city. “Additionally, this supports significant reinvestment in the MedQ.”

Skywalk connections would lead to PCI’s current Medical Pavilion, a 221,000-square-foot building that cost about $47 million to build. The city contributed $13 million to that project, which Mason said has been successful.

The expansion should lead to 200 new jobs, according to city information.

City Council passed a resolution of support for the plan at the meeting by an 8-0 vote with Council member Scott Olson abstaining due to a potential conflict of interest.

The city would issue bonds to pay for the ramp and then use new taxes generated from the expansion and ramp to pay off the debt. PCI would cover the annual bond repayments until the expansion has reached its full assessed value.

The plan exceeds the city’s standard incentive package, which is 10 years, 50 percent tax reimbursement. Mason said the project qualifies as community benefit and serves as catalyst for the area in justifying the sweeter deal.

PCI made a controversial entry into Cedar Rapids when the City Council made a much debated decision in 2010 to close part of Second Avenue SE for its campus. This latest expansion plan and city participation generated discussion — albeit more tame — about land use.

“I am a bit disappointed that they’ve not included any kind of green space, any kind of park space for patients or employees and that again we are taking up lots of land with building and parking spaces,” Council member Ann Poe said.

The building, which still is in planning, could feature medical specialties in executive health, men’s and women’s focused wellness and a sports performance center. PCI officials have said both health care and non-health care businesses would be able to lease space in the new building.

In other City Council news:

— The 45-unit Crestwood Ridge Apartments, 1200 Edgewood Rd. NW, would get a 10-year, 100-percent tax reimbursement worth an estimated $307,640, under a plan that received initial approval.

This comes after City Council initially rejected rezoning for the project, which includes five units for the chronically homeless, due to heavy resistance from neighbors leery of stormwater and traffic problems. The developer also is getting $8 million in federal tax credits for the $9.1 million project.

— The $9.7 million, 51-unit affordable housing facility at the southeast corner of Jacolyn Drive SW and 12th Avenue SW received a first vote of approval for a 10-year, 100-percent tax abatement worth an estimated $389,216. Cypress Pointe is proposed by MV Affordable Housing, a development entity of the Miller-Valentine Group.

— City Council gave a first vote of approval to award a 10-year, 100-percent tax reimbursement, worth about $591,250, for the $10.8 million, 52-unit affordable housing complex called Kingston Family Apartments at the corner of Diagonal Drive SW and Second Street SW.

City Council members panned the design as “blah,” but voted to continue the process. The project is proposed by a partnership of TWG Development and Anawim Housing.

— City Council passed a resolution of support for the Cedar Crossing Casino license application.

— City Council plans for a new flood levee for Czech Village estimated to cost $2.2 million. This would be the second major piece of the Cedar Rapids flood control system.

l Comments: (319) 339-3177; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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