ARTICLE

Developer submits another proposal to redevelop former A&W site in Cedar Rapids

City had reached agreement with Stark, but cut ties back in April

Only one company has submitted a development proposal to the city to bring the flood-damaged A & W Family Restaurant on
Only one company has submitted a development proposal to the city to bring the flood-damaged A & W Family Restaurant on Ellis Boulevard back to life five years after the flood of 2008. (The Gazette)

Itís a familiar story.

Only one company has submitted a development proposal to the city to bring the flood-damaged A & W Family Restaurant on Ellis Boulevard back to life five years after the flood of 2008.

The proposal comes from developer Baron Stark, the same person with whom the city earlier had agreed to work on the property only to terminate the arrangement in April after Stark failed to secure financing to purchase the property at 1126 and 1132 Ellis Blvd. NW. The city owns the property, having obtained it through the cityís flood-recovery buyout program.

Stark first told the city he wanted to redevelop the property in November 2011.

Six weeks ago, the city sought new proposals for the A & W property six weeks ago after pulling the plug on Starkís earlier proposal. At the time, Starkís development consultant suggested that Stark had not lost interest in the former A & W property.

After the cityís Monday deadline for proposals passed, only Stark had submitted a proposal for the property.

Later this week, a City Hall review committee will evaluate the new Stark proposal to see if it meets the criteria set out by the city for the project, city officials said Wednesday.

In late April, Linda Seger, president of the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association, said she hoped someone else might step forward to take an interest and redevelop the A & W property because Stark had not followed through on his plans. The association sees the redevelopment of the former A & W commercial property as important to the revitalization Ellis Boulevard NW, the main arterial street through the Time Check and Harrison Elementary School neighborhoods.

"I am very interested in the financial capability of Mr. Stark to really come through," Seger said on Wednesday. "I am concerned as to what will happen to the core of the Ellis District if another deal would fall through."Stark, owner of Stark Real Estate Holding Inc., owns some commercial properties in Czech Village. He could not be reached.

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