NewBo Redevelopment Will Add Housing, Work Spaces

By George Ford, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Construction is expected to begin as early as next month on a redevelopment project that will add housing and work spaces in the New Bohemia area of Cedar Rapids.

3rd Ward Development is planning to restore the former Kurik House on Second Street SE, a historic home flooded in 2008. The house will be moved closer to 11th Avenue SE and provide retail or commercial space on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor.

The project also will include construction of five single-family row houses on Second Street adjacent to the Kurik House and four mixed-use, two-story "work/live" units on Third Street SE. The latter will provide retail, office or studio space on the first floor and apartments on the second floor.

Don Barrigar, president of 3rd Ward Development, said the project will cover most of the square block between Second and Third streets and 10th and 11th avenues SE.

Barrigar said redevelopment and rehabilitation effort resulted from a two-year process that included acquisition of five properties — the Kurik House and four vacant properties — through two requests for proposals for flood-affected city-owned properties.

3rd Ward Development worked with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, state and federal historic preservation offices and the Cedar Rapids City Council-created Czech Bohemia Neighborhood Overlay District.

The Cedar Rapids Planning Commission will hold rezoning hearing April 17. It will then move to the Cedar Rapids City Council for its consideration.

Barrigar said relocation of the Kurik House and restoration work likely will begin next month. Construction of the single-family row houses is expected to start in July and the mixed use buildings on Third Street SE will complete the project in 2015.

Barrigar said the city and the South Side Investment Board conducted studies showing the need for more and diverse housing.

"Our goal was to not only create desired live and work spaces, but also to provide these in a way that complimented the heritage already in place in NewBo," Barrigar said. "We have talked with many people to make sure what we are offering is what they want in downtown live and work spaces."

Barrigar, a long time supporter of New Bohemia area, said the neighborhood needs more single-family homes like those of years ago. He said the new homes will be a nice addition to existing housing, primarily the Water Tower Place and Bottleworks loft complexes.

"I was one of the developers of Water Tower Place in 2004 and we ended up buying one of the units and moving in 2007," Barrigar said. "We've lived in the neighborhood since that time and have fallen in love with the area."

Each of the five row houses, which will be marketed as The Row Houses On Second, will have more than 1,800 square feet of living space with a rear-entry garage under the structure. Barrigar said the row houses will be offered for sale this year as part of a condominium association.
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