Developer eyes Kingston Village site for new microbrewery

Cedar Rapids City Council throws support behind project

A development group called West Side Wolf Pack V is proposing renovating space at 218 Fourth Ave. SW in Kingston Village. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Another new brewery could be headed to downtown Cedar Rapids.

A group of investors wants to redevelop an under utilized plot of land with the rundown old building that housed Lueck Label and an adjacent framed-out warehouse space at 218 Fourth Ave. SW in Kingston Village. An unidentified brewing company has already submitted a letter of interest to be part of the finished renovation, according to the developer and Cedar Rapids City Council documents.

“The brewery is looking to get some financing, and once they figured that out and we get a commitment, we hope to start construction,” said Steve White, who formed a development group with Graig Cone and Kory Nanke called West Side Wolf Pack V LLC.

The concept is a microbrewery with a tasting room, and the rebuild could take six or seven months after the necessary approvals, White said.

The project appears to have support from the Cedar Rapids City Council.

“I love the idea,” said Ann Poe, a Cedar Rapids City Council member. “We need more commercial down in that area to help drive the synergy.”

The City Council during a Tuesday meeting unanimously approved the first of three readings to designate an urban revitalization area for the property, which would make it eligible for tax breaks. The project would still need design approval from the Kingston Village Design Review Technical Advisory Committee before permits are granted.

City officials said the value of the property, which has mainly sat vacant since the 2008 flood, has declined 68 percent from a value of $351,657 in 2008 to $110,400 in 2016. The redevelopment plan could restore the property value to about $570,000 and therefore generate more taxes for the city, according to city officials explaining the plan.

The urban revitalization status would provide a tax exemption on a 10-year declining scale with a total exemption of $95,500, and meanwhile, the developer would pay an estimated $162,300 in additional taxes over the 10 years, according to city documents.

Wolf Pack is proposing investing $750,000 to renovate the space into a 12,500-square-foot single-story retail and office strip, with an adjacent parking lot. The brewery is interested in about a quarter of the building, White said. The other units haven’t been spoken for.

Wolf Pack paid $175,000 in July for the property, which White said they liked because it has parking and is in the “up and coming Kingston Village area.”

The warehouse space was under deconstruction by the previous owner when the property was sold. Wolf Pack would rebuild around the existing steel frame and foundation, according to city documents.

“The proposed project will basically keep the bones of the structure intact and update all the mechanical, exterior facade and other interior improvements,” said Caleb Mason, a Cedar Rapids economic development analyst presenting the project to City Council.

In other business Tuesday:

• City Council authorized signing an estimated $4 million contract for utility relocation in Czech Village. The project should be finished in November 2017, and the permanent levee construction could begin in 2018, said Rob Davis, Cedar Rapids flood control manager.

• City Council passed resolutions of support, and committed local tax incentives, for three southwest quadrant housing projects applying for low income housing tax credits through the Iowa Finance Authority. Applications for housing tax credits are due Nov. 17, and awards are expected to be announced in March. The projects include a Sonoma Square proposal to construct a $7.5 million, 36-unit family housing development at Muirfield Drive SW and Ely Road SW; TWG Development’s 150 family housing units in four three-story apartment buildings at 2215 Sadler Drive SW; and MV Affordable Housing’s $9.7 million Cypress Lofts with 51 family units at the southeast corner of Jacolyn Drive SW and 12th Avenue SW. An October 2016 market analysis assessed demand for “shallow-subsidy” — household income limited to 40 to 80 percent of the area median income — rental housing at 181-245 units annually over the next five years, according to city documents.

• City Council authorized $96,800 to match a U.S. Department of Justice grant to buy body cameras for Cedar Rapids police officers.

• The low bid for the estimated $5.7 million second phase of the Sinclair levee flood project came in well under estimate at $3.5 million by Tricon General Contractors of Cedar Rapids, Davis reported. This phase includes the pump station and detention basin. A public hearing was set for Nov. 15 for the third phase, which includes removing asbestos and building debris from the former Sinclair site, which allows for the expansion of the detention basin. The estimate for phase three is $1.8 million. The overall $14 million Sinclair levee project, which is to include a flood wall from the African American Museum of Iowa near the 12th Avenue Bridge to an Alliant Energy substation downstream of the 16th Avenue Bridge, is expected to be complete in fall 2017.