Uptown Marion Sees Surge of New Construction
By Jill Kasparie, Reporter
MARION, Iowa - New construction is building hopes of a future of growth in Marion.
Developers are pouring nearly $6 million worth of new construction into the downtown area, known as Uptown Marion.
Two new, three-story buildings are going up along 7th Avenue. Capital Commercial owns the project on 12th Street. One block east, the owner of Philip's Diamond Shop is investing in the 13th Street development. Both are local developers.
The projects are moving right along. City leaders said this is the first time in years that the city has seen so much new construction in Uptown Marion.
"People watch it, talk about it, ask about it, a lot of people come in here and ask us ‘What's going on next door?’,” said Lee Larson, Owner of Irwin’s Clothing.
Larson said the buzz is beginning. He has one of the best seats in the house with both projects unfolding right outside his doors.
"It's great progress for downtown Marion, and to think that people are investing that kind of money,” Larson said.
The old Jiffy Lube on the corner of 7th Avenue and 12th Street is slated for demolition any day. It was originally slated to start coming down on Tuesday. Uptown Marion Director Nick Glew said the developer of the $3 million building that will replace it, plans to put in a restaurant, office space and apartments.
"The redevelopment has bypassed it just because there was contamination issues, and so it's great to have a project that cleans that up and builds a brand new building and provides opportunity for new businesses to locate and expand,” Glew said.
Phil High owns the up-and-coming $2.6 million building at 7th Avenue and 13th Street. High said the project started because he needed a new home for his Diamond Shop. They need more space, especially for the manufacturing side of the business. Eventually the building will house the diamond shop, a hair studio and at least two other tenants.
"This is just the start of a bunch of new things, and I think that this helps to solidify the east side of the downtown and makes it actually a block longer,” High said.
Glew said with the city's growth, it's time for new buildings.
"We are positioned and ready to support more businesses here, and this is exactly what these projects are doing for us,” Glew said.
Both buildings are designed to fit in with the look of the current buildings in Uptown Marion. Glew said he expects both to open in 2014. The one on 12th Street, where Philip's Diamond Shop will be located, plans to open Feb. 14.
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