116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Economic Development Authority on Friday awarded $1.5 million in tax credits to fuel the redevelopment of two downtown Cedar Rapids housing projects.
Together, the projects will add 84 housing units.
The first proposal from developer Steve Emerson will convert the upper floors of the Iowa Building, 211 Fourth Ave. SE, into downtown housing units. The state will give $750,000 in tax credits to the project.
The Iowa Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The IEDA in September also awarded $975,559 in workforce housing tax credits toward its redevelopment.
Another Emerson development also will receive $750,000 in tax credits to convert the old Skogman Realty headquarters, at 411 First Ave. SE, into the Palmer Building housing development.
The redevelopment tax credits are for projects on brownfield and grayfield sites.
Grayfield sites are abandoned public, industrial or commercial properties that are vacant, blighted, obsolete or otherwise underutilized. The properties have infrastructure in place, but their current use is outdated or prevents a more efficient use of the site.
“We are grateful that the state chose the Palmer and Iowa buildings for the brownfield/grayfield program,” Emerson said in a news release.
“Revitalizing and repurposing buildings is a costly endeavor and would not be possible without help from state programs like these to fill construction cost gaps.” he said.
“We are excited and hopeful that our projects will increase the foot traffic in downtown Cedar Rapids and help our downtown businesses thrive.”
Both projects also are supported with the city’s standard incentive package, city Economic Development Manager Caleb Mason said — which, for housing projects, is a 10-year, 100 percent tax exemption or reimbursement.
“These funding streams are critical to getting these historic projects off the ground,” Cedar Rapids City Manager Pomeranz said.
“These are two very good opportunities for new downtown housing in Cedar Rapids,” he added. “Both are of historic importance to the downtown area, and it will be very positive to see them developed for housing opportunities.”
Doug Neumann, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, said in a statement that the projects “represent significant investment in our vibrant downtown community.”
“The tax incentives from the state will lead to $21 million in construction and development for the city, not to mention increase housing, which is sorely needed in our downtown area,” Neumann said.
The IEDA awarded a total of $15 million in tax credits statewide Friday, including the Webb Acres Gala Barn project located on the site of the former Iowa Braille School in Vinton.
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