Business

Tenants set for first floor of The National, former home of Chrome Horse Saloon

Cafe, engineering firm, restaurant lease space

A large hole in a window of The National building on 12th Ave. in New Bohemia is just one of many elements that will be replaced due to a new leasing agreement made, which will accommodate three new tenants, Brewhemia coffee shop, HBK Engineering and a local restaurant, in Cedar Rapids, Thursday Feb. 18, 2016. Formerly the Chrome Horse, the building was shut down after a fire took place in 2014. (Jessie Wardarski/The Gazette)
A large hole in a window of The National building on 12th Ave. in New Bohemia is just one of many elements that will be replaced due to a new leasing agreement made, which will accommodate three new tenants, Brewhemia coffee shop, HBK Engineering and a local restaurant, in Cedar Rapids, Thursday Feb. 18, 2016. Formerly the Chrome Horse, the building was shut down after a fire took place in 2014. (Jessie Wardarski/The Gazette)
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Tenants have signed leases for the first floor of The National, a 16,700-square-foot historic building at 307 12th Ave. SE in New Bohemia that formerly housed the Chrome Horse Saloon.

Brewhemia, a family-owned cafe and bar, will be moving from the CSPS building at 1101 Third St. SE, according to Brad Danielson, who along with Matt Danielson and Steve and Andrew Shriver, opened Brewhemia in June 2014 after purchasing the former Brewed Cafe.

“We had the opportunity to either stay here or change locations and make it more of our own place where we can do more things in the evening,” Brad Danielson said. “Our lease was up. We had to decide whether to make a move in this great neighborhood while we had the chance or stay here until the next time the lease is up.

“We think it’s going to be pretty cool over there.”

Brewhemia, which Danielson expects to open in its new location by Aug. 1, will be able to seat about 60 people inside, as opposed to 45 at its current location.

“We also will be able to have more outside seating in the summertime,” he said.

Craig Byers, leasing agent with Gibbs Lamb Drown, said HBK Engineering, a Chicago construction engineering firm with an office in Iowa City, will be opening a second Corridor office in The National.

“HBK does a lot of work with universities,” Byers said.

The remaining first floor space has been leased by Andy and Carrie Schumacher, the owners of Cobble Hill in downtown Cedar Rapids, who plan to open a new as-yet-unnamed restaurant serving tacos and other Mexican-inspired food items.

“It’s going to an urban taco joint, which is the best way to describe it,” said Carrie Schumacher, who expects the eatery and bar to open in late fall. “We’re toying around with adding a summertime taco pickup window on one of the sides of the building.”

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Schumacher said the restaurant, which will serve lunch and dinner and be larger than Cobble Hill, is expected to seat about 70 with inside and outdoor dining, depending on final design. She said it will employ about 25 and follow the same model as Cobble Hill in terms of using fresh ingredients from local sources.

Byers said a $2 million renovation of the first floor will begin fairly soon. He said Compass Commercial Services will be the general contractor and Fusion Architects is the architectural firm for the project.

The National was built in 1908 for Zapadni Ceska Bratrska Jednota (ZCBJ), a fraternal life association that served families of Czech ancestry. The building housed the Chrome Horse Saloon until a fire in July 2014 caused significant smoke, heat and fire damage to the first and second floors of the structure.

Chrome Horse Saloon relocated in the fall of 2015 to 1140 Blairs Ferry Road NE.

Byers said space on the second floor and mezzanine of The National is available for lease. He said discussions have been held with potential office and entertainment tenants, but no leases have been signed.

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