Another Last Call From City Hall For 7 Historic Properties in New Bohemia

By Rick Smith, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Bars would never close if they put out as many last calls as City Hall has for seven, old, flood-damaged properties in the New Bohemia arts and entertainment district.

Once again this week, the City Council's Development Committee said they wanted to alert the public and potential developers to prepare development proposals if they want to save any of the seven properties.

They are homes at 1018 Second St. SE, 1216 St. SE, 1301 Third St. SE, 213 13th Ave. SE and 1226 First St. SE. The two others are commercial properties: the one-time Globe Grocery property at 131 14th Ave. SE and the former Cedar Rapids Tent & Awning building at 1207 Second St. SE.

Many of the houses, if someone chooses to invest in them, may have to be moved to a nearby block to open up blocks where the houses now sit for future redevelopment, the members of the council's Development Committee said.

Council member Monica Vernon, the committee chairwoman, said a month ago that she wasn't sure any of the homes could survive a move. This week, Vernon said the Tent & Awning Building may be in sufficient disrepair to prevent renovation.

In a change from last month, the committee members said they now believe that the Globe Grocery property is capable of being renovated. In fact, the committee members said they would be open to a citizen proposal to renovate the building in place even though it sits in the construction zone for the city's proposed flood-protection system.

On Thursday, Beth Chancey, president of Save CR Heritage, credited the council committee for its flexibility on the properties, noting that the committee has become an "advocate" for the Globe property.

"Three of those buildings, including the Globe, were supposed to have been demolished by the end of October," Chancey said. "So kudos to the city for its willingness to switch gears and give preservation a chance."

The council committee recommended that the full City Council hold a public hearing on the disposition of the seven properties in January with a deadline for redevelopment proposals due on Feb. 28.

The city's Community Development Department can be reached at 286-5041.
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