116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
A Coralville developer will take over the planning and construction of a NewBo District apartment complex previously known as Art Tech Village.
Watts Group is planning NewBo Lofts, two 55-unit buildings at 455 16th Ave. SE.
“It’s a thriving, growing part of Cedar Rapids with a demand for housing,” said Ben Weber, business development director for the Watts Group.
Hatch originally planned for an apartment and retail complex with an industrial design that included a rooftop water tower and metal around the outside.
“The project has had multiple iterations, initially seeking funding through the Iowa Finance Authority for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and most recently applying for Workforce Housing Tax Credit funds in July of 2021,” according the Dec. 21 council packet. “Neither state funding source was approved for the project.”
The NewBo Lofts project, which has a minimum investment of $20 million, will get tax increment financing estimated to be worth $2.85 million in net present value, the council packet states.
The financing package may be reduced if Watts is awarded state tax credits.
There will be 80 one-bedroom units and 20 two-bedroom units as well as 10 one-bedroom “entrepreneurial” units with rent that fits affordable housing standards.
Those units are intended for participants in the Iowa Startup Accelerator, but could also go to other qualifying tenants, Weber said.
NewBo Lofts construction is scheduled to start in 2022 and be done in 2024. Watts has agreed to dedicate a portion of the complex property for a public recreation trail.
Weber said Watts connected with Hatch in the middle of developing the project and was able to add some of their expertise with multifamily housing in Iowa City and Coralville. Watts also has some apartment buildings by Kirkwood Community College and is developing a $22 million complex near Brucemore.
“Jack and Dale and his group have done a really good job with affordable housing, even multi-rate,“ Weber said, referring to Jack Hatch, principal for Hatch Development, and Dale Todd, vice president of development for Hatch and a Cedar Rapids City Council member.
Todd said he would recuse himself from the vote on this agenda item.
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