Finance company, barbeque restaurant top open in The Fountains

Four of six buildings constructed at site

An office building is one of four buildings in The Fountains, a mixed use development on Edgewood Road NE in Cedar Rapid
An office building is one of four buildings in The Fountains, a mixed use development on Edgewood Road NE in Cedar Rapids on Monday, October 31, 2016. BMO Harris Bank will be moving into an open section of the building. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Two new tenants — BMO Harris Bank and Billy Sims BBQ — will be opening in the Fountains.

Four of the planned six buildings in the Fountains, a multi-phase retail-office park at the northeast corner of Edgewood Drive NE and Highway 100 in northwest Cedar Rapids, have been constructed.

BMO Harris will take 23,500 square feet on the first and second floor of the north east most Fountains building. The space is being built out for 175 employees, according to officials with Ahmann Design, which is behind the Fountains.

“I think this will really help the other businesses at the Fountains,” said Joe Ahmann, the developer.

The Fountains thus far have three retail strips and one office building, along with amenities such as a clock tower, pond, fountains and patio seating. The additional buildings are designated for office use.

With the additions, the office space will be 85 percent occupied and the overall complex will be 90 percent occupied, Ahmann said.

Billy Sims is slated to go in 2,300 square feet in the northwest most retail building.

This would be the second Iowa location after Burlington for Billy Sims BBQ, a franchise with 49 locations started by the former Oklahoma Sooners running back and Heisman Trophy winner. Billy Sims would offer counter service and seating for about 75 people.

BMO Harris, which signed a 10-year lease in September, is due to open by June 1, while Billy Sims, which signed a lease in October, is tentatively schedule to open in February or March, said Dave Castelluccio, property manager.

Both spaces are virtually empty shells and need to be built out.

The BMO Harris move is the result of that company’s acquisition of the GE Capital’s Transportation Finance team last year. That is group that will move into to the Fountains.

The division had been located at 1010 Thomas Edison Blvd. SW in shared location with GE’s larger vendor services division, which was acquired by Wells Fargo and remains at the location.

“They want to expand and be a presence in the community,” Ahmann said, noting it was a win for Cedar Rapids to keep the company local.

BMO Harris Bank could not be reached for comment.

BMO Harris Bank is taking much of the space that had been planned for Terex, a construction equipment manufacturer that had been negotiating to relocate staff from 909 17th St. NE to the Fountains. That deal fell apart after Cedar Rapids City Council members questioned giving up to $506,000 in additional tax breaks, noting the Fountains development already had received tax incentives.

Castelluccio said no tax deals will be sought for the BMO Harris space.

Ahmann would not say the Terex deal is dead, but said they are moving forward without it.

“We are not waiting around,” he said.

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