CORALVILLE — 808 on 5th doesn’t look much like many other development around Coralville, and that’s intentional.
The two completed mixed-use buildings near the heart of Coralville are lined with extra-wide sidewalks, park benches and large glass storefronts. Developer Blaine Thomas, owner of Blue Sky Developers, launched an effort to move bus stops out front and clear the way for the businesses to set up sidewalk bistro seating.
The development is still growing, with three more buildings planned or under construction. And businesses are still moving in, with Transformation Salon and Spa scheduled to open Jan. 1.
Thomas credits growth of the residential and commercial development to his prioritizing quality and community over pinching pennies.
“My philosophy is different from anyone else’s,” Thomas said. “You can’t look only at the dollar. It doesn’t work and that’s why 808 on 5th is full.”
Eight businesses have either been planned for or opened in 808 on 5th. Additionally, Thomas said he’s working to bring in some sort of entertainment venue with food and live music.
The last venue won’t spell the end for business growth in the complex. Another commercial portion is planned inside a new building on the corner of Fifth Street and Sixth Avenue.
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Thomas said he’s very particular about choosing the businesses he signs leases with at 808 on 5th.
He personally knows many of the store owners and only allows those he believes would be successful to move in. He also said he never plans to sign any business competing with one that already exists in his complex.
Mint Julep was the first business to move into 808 on 5th last January. Danny Gates, manager and lead designer, said the flower shop was looking to rebrand when they moved to 808 on 5th.
Gates said Mint Julep is attempting to appeal to younger customers by being up on flower trends most shared or liked on social media platforms like Pinterest.
“We wanted to make sure that people in the area really knew we were a step ahead of everyone else.” Gates said. “I would definitely say 808 is the place to do that.”
Gates said walk-in traffic has been a major benefit of the location. She said people often drive by the storefront and get curious about what’s inside.
Adam Kopfman. owner of Tip Top Cakes, which opened at the end of November, also appreciates the activity surrounding the location, especially because the development is integrated into an existing community.
“I started looking at the buildings and everything and I decided that this is where I’d like to call home,” Kopfman said. “I want to be part of the community and this is perfect because there is all residences right across the street.”
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Kopfman said he wants to look into creating a farmers market at the complex with the hopes of encouraging the community to visit and help the other businesses.
“The progress is pretty rewarding and I appreciate that people were able to see the vision in my head,” Thomas said.
On the residential side, the development’s third building is slated for completion around the end of July.
Earlier this year, the city council approved workforce housing financial support for a fourth building of 125,000 square feet.
808 ON 5TH
— Mint Julep flower shop
— Transformation Salon and Spa
— Midwest America Commercial Realty
— Plum Tree Chiropractic
— 319 Elite Fitness
— Tip Top Cakes
— Psychology offices of Kelly Nissen, Bridget Benton and Kari Schorer (licensed independent social workers)
— Keller Williams Realty
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