Almost 8-acres of Cedar Rapids real estate that once seemed destined to house a casino has been opened up to a world of possibilities.

The City of Cedar Rapids has officially asked for a 'Request for Qualifications' to redevelop the space along 1st Ave. West, between 1st St and 3rd St. A request for qualifications is the first step in finding interest from developers who, if qualified, could then submit proposals to redevelop the property. I don't think they'll be in short supply.

It's hard to believe it's been five-and-a-half years since Linn County voters approved a Cedar Rapids casino. In April of 2014, the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission denied a Linn County license request. Cedar Rapids gave it another shot last fall, to another no vote. It's time to move on... way past time, in the opinion of many.

The property to be redeveloped is shown (outlined in black) below. Known as "First and First West, 1st Avenue goes between the two blocks of land, with all of it visible from I-380. Just across from downtown and next to the Kingston Village District that is, itself, ripe with new development over the last few years. It's a couple of quadrants of city-owned property that are sure to be coveted by developers.

City of Cedar Rapids
City of Cedar Rapids

So what happens next? The city is giving  interested development companies until November 9 to submit their request for qualifications. A lengthy process will take place over the next year, which will a "community vision initiative" that will include the developer that's eventually chosen, along with City-led public input. Public open houses will be included to get input from citizens next spring and summer. A final development agreement for the property is expected in October or November of 2019.

What would you like to see in that spot? What does Cedar Rapids not have that you think we need? Now is the time to speak up!

Google Earth