CEDAR RAPIDS — City officials on Tuesday backed a proposal for commercial and residential space in the College District at the former Terex property that they hope will spur further development in the area.
The Cedar Rapids City Council approved an ordinance to allow rezoning of the former industrial equipment manufacturing site at 916 16th St. NE, near Mount Mercy University, to a commercial and residential mixed-use development by The Hub LLC, a group led by Hiawatha-based Ahmann Companies CEO Joe Ahmann.
The developer’s plan calls for $40 million to $45 million to renovate existing commercial space, demolish portions of the facility and construct new buildings with a 75-foot height allowance. This includes up to 160 residential units across three buildings as well as indoor and outdoor parking space.
Proposed amenities include rooftop gathering areas and a private open space.
In October, the Iowa Economic Development Authority approved up to $1 million in brownfield and grayfield tax credits for the project.
The construction timeline is unclear but Chad Pelley, business development manager for Ahmann Companies, previously told the City Council that developers are ready to begin demolition and are “excited to get started on this project.”
Phil Wasta, president of the College District board, told The Gazette he is pleased Ahmann’s group is taking the “bold first step” in the right direction to develop this area.
The College District Area Action Plan, adopted by the City Council in 2018, encompasses this site. The plan spans from Coe College to Mount Mercy University and includes the Mound View Neighborhood, and outlines goals to improve trail connectivity and walkability, preserve the area’s historic characteristics and add additional housing options.
Wasta said people in the area are excited to see plans for a positive change at the site, which he described as currently being “an eyesore.”
Rezoning this property to a mixed-use residential facility is in line with what the neighborhood can support and is a natural maturation of the site, Wasta said. He pointed to how Collins Aerospace prompted neighborhoods for the company’s employees to spring up nearby.
“Turning that site into something positive to play off of the investment that Mount Mercy University has made on their athletic fields and health facility can do nothing but raise the bar in the neighborhood,” Wasta said, referring to the university’s development of another former Terex property into an athletic center.
Council member Ann Poe, who chairs the council’s Development Committee, said Nov. 3, “since it’s so close to the university, you’d think that’d be a good place for students as well. It is close walking distance to the university.”
Pelley said the developers hope to attract students from both colleges in the neighborhood and he expects there will be ample parking space, as many students will not have vehicles.
He said the units will range from studios to three-bedroom units, priced around $700 to $800 up to $1,300 or $1,400 to rent.
Demand will likely be high, he said, because the retail space and amenities make for a “unique opportunity here unlike anywhere else in Cedar Rapids right now.”
This project will change the face of the neighborhood, Council member Dale Todd previously said.
“We’ve had developers look at this site and they think there’s more potential in this site than anything they’ve seen in Cedar Rapids,” Todd said.
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