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Government

Marion seeks developer for long-vacant 1204 Seventh Ave. site

Building on hold since 2015 construction collapse

The building site at 1204 Seventh Ave. in Marion on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The city and Community Savings Bank are seeking a new developer to build a three-story mixed-use building on the site. Plans for a previous development were cut short after a building collapse and the developer filing for foreclosure. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
The building site at 1204 Seventh Ave. in Marion on Tuesday, April 2, 2019. The city and Community Savings Bank are seeking a new developer to build a three-story mixed-use building on the site. Plans for a previous development were cut short after a building collapse and the developer filing for foreclosure. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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MARION — City leaders are hoping to breathe new life into an old project in Marion’s Uptown.

The city has partnered with Community Savings Bank to usher the completion of a mixed-use building at 1204 Seventh Ave. The property already has foundations and some infrastructure, but work was never completed after the second floor of the building collapsed during construction of a now-defunct development in September 2015.

The cost of the collapse caused developer Capital Commercial Division LLC to go into foreclosure on the property and turn it over to the bank.

Original plans called for a three-story building with retail or restaurant space on the first level and housing units above, and the city’s request for proposals seeks a developer who will follow the same plans.

“The developer will be expected to complete the project in conformance with the plans and specifications that have been approved, although the city will entertain properly designed changes to interior layouts, etc., pending review by city staff,” the request for proposals said.

To encourage developers, the city has preapproved the project for a 12-year, 85 percent property tax rebate up to $1 million, according to the request for proposals.

The 7,260-square-foot site is listed at $325,000, and the completed building is expected to have a taxable value of at least $3.8 million, according to the request. Proposals from developers are due April 30 with the goal of completing the project within one year or by the end of 2020.

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“The beauty of this scenario is that architectural plans are available with the property. The plans for a three-story, mixed-use structure have already been reviewed and approved by city staff,” said Tom Treharne, Marion community development director, via email. “A financing package is also structured based on those plans. However, if developers have other ideas for the location, they may submit them for review.”

Treharne said no leases for the first floor space have been signed but the “vision has always been for a restaurant to occupy the first floor.” Riley’s Cafe, a diner-style restaurant, was the planned tenant before the building collapsed.

The now-vacant lot is prime real estate — “in the heart of Uptown Marion,” Treharne said. The property — formerly the site of a Jiffy Lube oil change service — is in the Uptown Marion district, near Marion City Square Park and numerous local businesses, and has been empty since the collapse.

“The lot has previously been home to small, one-story structures, so it’s exciting to be filling this gap in the central business district,” Treharne said.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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