What Would Be Cedar Rapids’ Tallest Building Takes Step Toward Reality
After studying whether a proposed Cedar Rapids building was both possible and practical, a company based in New York has given the project a green light, but it will be an expensive one for everyone involved, including the city.
National Development Council has been examining One Park Place for six months and has announced they believe it's doable, but also think that financing by the City of Cedar Rapids will likely have to cover $20.5 million of the project. That's nearly 20 percent of the total $103 million cost. If built, the 28-story building would be the tallest in Cedar Rapids. Plans call for it to be built at the corner of 3rd Avenue and 1st Street SE. That corner is already home to the Alliant Energy building, CRST Tower, and the former Smulekoff's building.
The proposed building would include a rooftop restaurant, grocery store, condos, apartments, hotel, and a parking ramp.
Cedar Rapids City Manager Jeff Pomeranz was happy with the news, saying in a press release, "We are pleased to hear the outcome of the NDC’s thorough review that One Park Place remains financially viable. Continued diligence is needed to successfully bring this project — and its many components — to fruition, but we are excited to work with (Developer) Jesse (Allen) and his team to begin the next phase of this project by negotiating a development agreement.”
Developer Jesse Allen had asked for $23 million in financial assistance. That big number is still a concern to Cedar Rapids city officials, including Mayor Ron Corbett. Corbett told The Gazette, "It’s a big project, but it would be phenomenal to have downtown, not just for the tax base but all of the jobs it would create. But, it would be a stretch for us to put this financial package on the table (up front). I don’t think there’s any way I would support $20 million up front. There might be some seed money for them, but most would come in some form of abatement in property taxes.”
An economic development analyst for the city, Caleb Mason, believes the city will suggest $5 million when the building is complete, likely in 2020. The other $15.5 million would probably come in property tax reimbursements over as much as 18 years.
December 6 is the next big day on the calendar. On that date, the Cedar Rapids City Council will be asked to allow members of the city's staff to try to work out an agreement with the developer. Their answer will undoubtedly be 'yes,' but what will the developer, Jesse Allen, say to the city's financial plan? We'll have to wait and see, but I have a feeling there will be no shortage of creativity on both sides to try to bring this project to fruition.
[via The Gazette]