116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A Coralville-based developer is pursuing a $22.2 million redevelopment of land west of the historic Brucemore estate for market-rate rental housing units with amenities.
The Watts Group is looking to develop a property at 1953 First Ave. SE, on a 1.6-acre site, into two new buildings with a 6,000 square-foot amenity area connecting them, bringing 48 units online.
Underground, there would be enclosed parking, as well as surface parking at the rear. The housing units would make up the four stories above the enclosed parking space. A pool would go in an area between the two complexes.
The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday approved a term sheet outlining financial incentives for the project, qualifying under Cedar Rapids’ Brownfield-Grayfield Redevelopment economic development program.
City Economic Development Manager Caleb Mason said Cedar Rapids would reimburse 100 percent of the incremental taxes generated by the project — up to a total $3.9 million net present value over up to 15 years.
“It’s likely to fall in that 12- to 15-year range depending on how the improvements are assessed and depending on how they increase over time,” Mason said.
The developer also is seeking state tax credits, Mason said. If those are awarded to the project, the city incentive would then be reduced based on present value of those tax credits.
Mason said the first building is expected to begin construction next spring, and there may be a year lag with the next building starting.
Council members also approved first considerations of ordinances for rezoning and an amendment of the future land use map. There will be second and possible third considerations of the ordinances at the council’s Oct. 26 meeting. A development agreement would come to council in November or December.
Dave Houg, a development services planner, said there were no objections to the proposal at a neighborhood meeting.
Council member Ann Poe, chair of the council’s Development Committee, said the proposal was “very nice” and an appropriate fit for First Avenue SE.
“I like the pool, I like the connectivity between the two buildings, I like how close it faces First Avenue, I love the parking in the rear and that that’s going to give the neighbors some buffering,” Poe said.
This project makes great use of space, said council member Ashley Vanorny, who also sits on the Development Committee.
“We have a lot of limited space, we have way too much parking, way too much concrete — it doesn’t really serve anybody well,” Vanorny said. “And when we’re working on these climate action plans, having something like underground parking is a better use of space.”
Comments: (319) 398-8494; firstname.lastname@example.org