Government

New Cargill rail yard near Rompot neighborhood advances in Cedar Rapids

The Cedar Rapids City Council chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
The Cedar Rapids City Council chamber at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Cedar Rapids. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Cargill Inc. received the green light on Tuesday to begin negotiations for city land near the Rompot neighborhood where the agriculture and shipping giant wants to construct a rail yard.

Cargill is proposing a $6.5 million investment in a new 27.74-acre rail car storage yard on city-owned property west of the corner of Otis Avenue and Stewart Road SE. The yard would service the wet corn milling plant on Otis Road, according to city documents.

Cedar Rapids City Council unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included the Cargill project, during its Tuesday meeting. Staff recommended requiring terms that include dedication of future right of way and inclusion of an earthen berm to serve as a buffer between the rail operations and neighborhood.

Cargill submitted the only proposal for the land, which was marked as a “wildlife refuge.” Some neighbors previously said they supported the land being put to use.

City officials said the project meets several objectives including compatibility with flood events, financial viability, and it mitigates, to the extent possible, compatibility with surrounding land uses.

In other news:

• United Fire Group was granted a three-month extension to complete renovation of the American Building and construction of an adjacent 10-story building, 101 and 107 Second St. SE and 121 First Ave. SE, adding 110,000 square feet of new office space.

The extension pushes back the completion deadline three months from Dec. 31 to March 31, and moves the date of property value assessment for which reimbursement payments are based from Jan. 1, 2019, to Jan. 1, 2020. The city had to approve the extension because the public is investing $2.6 million through tax reimbursements in the estimated $28.4 million project.

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• Interest from the Neighborhood Development Corp., a nonprofit organization that revitalizes distressed neighborhoods through development, prompted City Council to begin a competitive process to return city-owned land at 115 Sixth St. SW to the private sector. The vacant property had been a flood buyout in 2011.

The city previously awarded an adjacent city-owned property at 535 First Ave. SW to Neighborhood Development. The organization is proposing a two-story mixed use development with commercial-office space on the first floor and three market rate apartments on the second floor, and want additional space for the development.

Proposals for the Sixth Street SW property are due Aug. 31, and proposal selection will be made on Sept. 3.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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