Government

ArtTech Village aims to provide unique living and work space

Developer eyes NewBo for $17.8 million development in Cedar Rapids

Preliminary design rendering of ArtTech Village. Special to The Gazette from Gary Landhauser, Novak Design
Preliminary design rendering of ArtTech Village. Special to The Gazette from Gary Landhauser, Novak Design

CEDAR RAPIDS — An Iowa developer plans to build on NewBo City Market’s growing reputation for innovation with a unique housing project geared toward artists and entrepreneurs.

Jack Hatch, of Des Moines-based Hatch Development Group, said ArtTech Village, planned for the 400 block of 16th Avenue SE, is to provide a mix of living and work space unlike any other in Cedar Rapids.

Hatch said the $17.8 million project’s upper floors are to mix rental units with shared work spaces for collaboration.

“It really does kind of attract the younger, high-tech entrepreneur type and put them in an environment so they can learn faster, learn more and accelerate their ideas,” he said.

Meanwhile, ArtTech Village’s ground floor is to include housing units attached to street level commercial space for small retail or art studios.

“This will give them a chance to put their money into a residence that also has a street-size retail shop or could also be their studio,” Hatch said.

Caleb Mason, Cedar Rapids economic development analyst, said the units proposed in ArtTech Village don’t currently exist in Linn County.

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“What they’re calling the live-work units is something that would be unique in our marketplaces as of now,” he said.

According to city documents, ArtTech Village is proposed as two, 49-unit, three-story mixed-use buildings to be located on the future extension of 16th Avenue SE between Fifth Street and Fourth Street.

The two buildings are to be located on opposite sides of the 16th Avenue extension behind the Geonetric building.

Hatch said ArtTech Village would offer short-term leases to work in tandem with Geonetric’s three-month programming patterns, but also some longer leases for other working professionals. Mason said the 16th Avenue extension project could begin as soon as next spring.

As for ArtTech Village, Hatch said the next step is securing financing for the project. The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday gave conditional support to Hatch’s application for state workforce housing tax credit dollars.

The city’s involvement is contingent on state approval, but support is required when applying for such credits.

Cedar Rapids council member Ann Poe said she has seen preliminary designs for ArtTech and she supports the idea.

“I think if the concept like what (Hatch) is proposing would work, it would work very well located behind Geonetric and in the NewBo area, which supports entrepreneurs and new development,” she said. “I think it’s spot-on.”

Hatch said he also plans to seek brownfield redevelopment tax credits for the project.

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“There’s still some financing we have to secure, so this is not a done deal yet,” Hatch said.

Hatch said the project comes with some challenges, including financing and marketing such a unique space, but added it’s worth it to get into one of the city’s fastest growing neighborhoods.

“Even though it’s a challenge, it’s one which can be overcome. As we know looking at NewBo, there’s some real excitement down there,” he said.

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