Medical Building will Replace Art Gallery, 3 Houses

By George Ford, Reporter

Two turn-of-the-century homes housing Corner House Gallery and Frame, 2753 First Ave. SE in Cedar Rapids, will be demolished along with several rental properties to make way for a new medical building. (George C. Ford/The Gazette)

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By Kara Kelly

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — A proposed medical office building at the corner of First Avenue and 28th Street Drive SE will require the demolition of a building housing a 36-year-old art and framing gallery as well as several nearby houses.

1815 First Avenue Development LLC received rezoning approval this week from the Cedar Rapids City Council to construct a three-story, 13,500-square-foot building and adjacent parking lot. Rezoning was sought for three housing parcels from residential multifamily zoning to office/service status.

The project will require the demolition of Corner House Gallery and Frame at 2753 First Ave. SE and three houses at 117 28th Street Dr. SE, 121 28th Street Dr. SE and 2740 Second Ave. SE.

Phil and Mary Suess bought Corner House Gallery and Frame in April 2007 from Janelle and George McClain, who launched their business in 1976. The art gallery and framing business is located in two turn-of-the-century houses that were connected to form a single structure.

Mary Suess, in an email sent to customers and media outlets, said Corner House Gallery and Frame is closing and will not relocate. Suess will continue to consult with businesses.

Suess Land and Cattle Co., also owned by Phil and Mary Suess, owns the houses at 117 28th Street Dr. SE and 121 28th Street Dr. SE. Both have been occupied as rental properties.

Joe Ahmann of Hiawatha, principal owner of 1815 First Avenue Development LLC, signed a purchase agreement with Suess Land and Cattle Co. The sale was contingent on the city approving rezoning of the three housing parcels.

Vern Zakostelecky, land development planner with the Cedar Rapids Community Development Department, said the owner of a house at 127 28th Street Dr. SE declined to sell the property. It was not included in the rezoning request.

As presently envisioned on a site plan filed with the city, the office building will be located to the west of the existing Corner House Gallery and Frame building. The parking lot will be dogleg-shaped between First and Second Avenues SE.

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