Mount Mercy Has Agreement to Buy Terex Property

By Jeff Raasch, Reporter

The Mount Mercy University Center is seen on Friday, Sept. 30, 2011. The university began construction on the 43,500-square-foot center in May 2010. The facility features study areas, administrative offices, student organizations, the campus bookstore and the dining center. (David Scrivner/SourceMedia Group)

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By Ellen Kurt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Mount Mercy University is poised to expand to the south if hurdles involving rezoning and inspections are cleared.

Mount Mercy has an agreement to purchase part of the sprawling Terex complex that has been vacant since June 2010, contingent on several factors, according to a news release issued Tuesday. The first step toward the sale – a rezoning application – has been submitted to the Cedar Rapids City Council.

The Terex complex, 909 17th St. NE, consists of 51 total acres and 578,307 square feet of manufacturing space. The rezoning request does not apply to the entire property.

The application asks for property east of 17th Street NE and south of I Avenue NE to be rezoned from industrial to office services, which allows for uses by colleges and universities. Part of the Terex property near J Avenue NE will remain industrial for now.

City planner Vern Zakostelecky said the first public hearing on the matter would be March 14 when the planning and zoning commission reviews the request. He said the City Council probably wouldn’t take up the request until April.

According to a news release issued by Terex, the sale is contingent on the rezoning, other inspections and approvals. In addition to the rezoning, site plans that haven’t been submitted yet will also need to be approved before any redevelopment can take place.

Tom Erger of Cabinet Studio, which is located adjacent to Terex, was part of a group of area property owners who attempted to buy the property. He told The Gazette in October plans were dropped because Terex wanted the buyer to assume liability for any soil contamination on the property.

Mount Mercy has not announced plans for the property. Spokeswoman Jennifer Jentz referred all questions to Terex representatives, who did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

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