Downtown Cedar Rapids Business Leveled for Parking Lot

By Rick Smith, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Demolition this week of the Downtown Wrigley Bar & Grille had nothing to do with the already dimming hopes for this year's version of the Chicago Cubs.

The bar at 315 Second Ave. SE is owned by Guaranty Realty Inc., and Chris Lindell, president/CEO of Guaranty Bank & Trust Co., said on Wednesday the real estate arm of the bank holding company decided that the cost to upgrade the bar building for a possible different use did not justify keeping it in place.

"It just didn't make sense," Lindell said. "It just wasn't that well-built a building. It kind of served its useful life. So it came down. That way we don't have the liability associated with it."

In the near-term, he said the spot will become a parking lot for 20 vehicles.

Guaranty owns three-quarters of the entire block, and Lindell said Guaranty Realty has worked with OPN Architects Inc. and Ryan Companies US in the last year to investigate what kind of building might go up on available space there.

"Long run, unfortunately, there is a lot of commercial office space available in downtown Cedar Rapids," he said.

Interestingly, Lindell said plans to build on Guaranty property might have been accelerated if the proposed local casino project had succeeded last week in securing a state gaming license. It was turned down by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.

"If the casino had gone through, there might have been a lot of great things we could have built there with the influx of additional people," Lindell said. "Since that's not the case, it may be awhile.

" ... Something someday is going to happen. ... We'd love to have some more activity in downtown and help in the continued revitalization of downtown. There's been a lot of great things that have happened since (the flood of) 2008."
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