CEDAR RAPIDS — Late last year, multiple developers announced plans for several acres of vacant land at the southwest corner of Highway 100 and Edgewood Road NE that could come with a price tag as high as $55 million.
River Ridge, the 14.8-acre development by Ahmann Companies, is set to be the site of a new dealership for Randy Kuehl Honda and a Hilton Garden Inn, among other potential developments.
Randy Kuehl Honda announced plans in February 2019 to relocate from its current location on Center Point Road NE to a new dealership near Highway 100.
What’s happened since?
Construction on the 35,110-square-foot dealership is set to be complete soon, with the opening expected this summer, said Chad Pelley, business development manager at Ahmann Companies.
The Hilton Garden Inn, sitting on 3.36 acres, will have 102 rooms and 190 parking spots along with the 25,050-square-foot facility. It is expected to open this fall, Pelley said.
In addition, Ahmann Companies broke ground on Buffalo Ridge, a residential development on an 8-acre parcel of land within River Ridge that costs between $16 million and $20 million.
The first of 100 market-rate townhouses will wrap up construction by the end of June and should see the first tenants moving in shortly after, Pelley said.
Despite the economic effects of the novel coronavirus, Pelley said Ahmann Companies expects the demand for market-rate housing in the northeast part of Cedar Rapids to remain strong.
The question remains, however, what will be done with 4.44 acres of vacant land within River Ridge.
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Ahmann Companies previously had proposed three mixed-use buildings, with retail and office space on the first floor and dozens of residential units on the second and third floors. However, when the 3.36 acres nearby were sold for the construction of the Hilton Garden Inn, the developers had to adjust their plans.
“Now the market tells us what it wants, but the world is scary right now,” Pelley said.
Pelley said there’s been interest in the vacant lot since Iowa has begun to reopen businesses following coronavirus-related shutdowns, but developers still are waiting to understand what the market might demand in a post-pandemic world.
What does office and retail space look like after the pandemic? Will people be downsizing their homes, or upsizing because they’re working from home? These questions, among others, are what developers will be turning over as they come up with a game plan in the near future, Pelley said.
But Ahmann Companies is hopeful. Construction at the developer’s 56-acre Edgewood Town Centre, a roughly $50 million commercial-retail hub that sits directly north of River Ridge, has continued in the past few months despite the pandemic.
“Things are still happening,” Pelley said. “We keep on keeping on.”
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