116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The city’s request for $39.5 million in aid to fuel “transformational” downtown developments is among the six proposals in Iowa that remain eligible to potentially receive millions in state tax incentives.
The Iowa Economic Development Authority on Friday narrowed down the proposals from Iowa communities to six from 10 competing for a total $100 million awarded through its Reinvestment District program. The program “reinvests” sales and hotel-motel tax revenues to cities for use in developments that boost the quality of life and create or enhance recreational opportunities — and ultimately attract people from the state or region.
Cedar Rapids’ proposal, which envisions more than $261 million in investments overall, is the largest of all the community proposals, which sought a total of $201.6 million in state funding — more than twice what is available.
Authority spokeswoman Staci Hupp said in an email the selected communities have been invited to present their proposals to the board April 30.
Any funding awarded to Cedar Rapids would support cornerstone downtown developments that have struggled to get off the ground. The city’s proposal encompasses the proposed mixed-use First and First West development featuring a Big Grove microbrewery; Marriott hotels at the Guaranty Bank Building and Old World Theater site; and a high-rise near the Paramount Theatre. It also includes an Eighth Avenue SW pump station, Fourth Avenue SE plaza and a 5-in-1 Dam bypass channel.
All said, the city estimates the district would bring 300 jobs to Cedar Rapids and create 360 temporary construction jobs by its 20th year. And officials estimate each year there would be $102.7 million in direct spending as well as $51.7 million in indirect and household spending by that point. It would also generate almost $77 million in sales and hotel-motel taxes.
In addition to Cedar Rapids, proposals from Fort Dodge, Newton and Ames have advanced, Hupp said. And so have proposals from Urbandale and Des Moines to build a new arena for the Des Moines Buccaneers at Merle Hay Mall and from Des Moines for a new soccer stadium downtown with a mix of other developments nearby.
The board could make provisional awards as early as May 21. If further review is needed, Hupp said, the board will make awards at its June meeting.
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