116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — A new mixed-use development that is expected to transform a long-vacant block on the main street connecting downtown and the New Bohemia District is slated to get a final green light Tuesday from the Cedar Rapids City Council.
The council at its noon Tuesday meeting will consider a development agreement outlining terms for a project that will take shape on the empty land at the former Loftus Lumber site, 900 Third St. SE.
Dave Drown, president of GLD Commercial, is pursuing the development of a $36 million mixed-use building that will add 180 rental units, retail spaces, a rooftop patio and parking.
The five-story building would have 180 market-rate rental units — a mix of studio, one- , one-plus, two- and three-bedroom units — as well as a rooftop terrace and amenity area, 11,000 square feet of first-floor retail and commercial space and surface and covered parking.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to move forward and we look forward to adding to the downtown housing stock,” Drown previously has said.
Under the terms of the development agreement, the developer would close on the property by Nov. 15. Construction is slated to start by April 30, 2023, and wrap up by Oct. 23, 2024.
Drown is giving the long-empty land another shot at redevelopment after previous plans faltered amid a legal dispute between the O’Connell family, which owns the land, and previously proposed developer Richard Sova of Illinois-based Landover Corp.
“It's been worked on for so long by so many people and it's been an eyesore to the community,” City Manager Jeff Pomeranz previously said of the Loftus project. “We have worked really hard to get to this point, and we're very pleased that GLD through Dave Drown has taken on this big task, and it's going to be a beautiful amenity to Cedar Rapids and to New Bohemia.”
The council previously approved tax incentives for the project — a reimbursement of 100 percent of the increment taxes the development generates, a net present value of $6.4 million.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority also recently awarded the project up to $1 million in brownfield and grayfield tax credits and another $1 million in September for workforce housing tax credits.
Council member Dale Todd, who represents District 3 that encompasses downtown and NewBo, said this site is a “a significant and critical parcel” for the district.
“It is a complicated project that has languished, but its timing today is just right and will help inspire additional investment in the dead zone between NewBo and the downtown core,” Todd said.
In addition to the development agreement, the council also will consider rezoning the property from Urban Neighborhood General District to remove the “urban” from district zoning classification along adjoining portions of Ninth Avenue SE from Third Street east to the railroad tracks.
This will allow greater flexibility in the building’s design along Ninth Avenue SE, according to the city, in particular allowing ground floor parking within 25 feet of the right of way line.
The developer also is requesting the vacation and disposition of a 0.35-acre parcel of right of way from Third Street to Fourth Street SE between Ninth Avenue and 10th Avenue SE, according to the city, to maximize development potential.
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