NewBo Shows Signs of Growth

By Heather Hubbs, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Drills, hammers, and heavy machinery can be heard all around the New Bohemia neighborhood in southeast Cedar Rapids.

It's the sound of progress, and it's not likely to die down any time soon. The NewBo Neighborhood is buzzing with new development.

Geonetric, a Cedar Rapids-based software company, is moving its headquarters to NewBo. Geonetric has outgrown their current facility on Glass Road, so they are building a three story, 45,000-square-foot building right across from the NewBo Market.

Geonetric will occupy the third floor, and the second floor will serve as co-working space for The Vault, as well as a brand new accelerator program for companies in the very early stages. In the accelerator program, companies will go through a 90-day boot camp of sorts that will turn their ideas into a business plan ready to get off the ground.

The first floor will include a cafe, along with the possibility of other leased spaced.

Geonetric owners say they hope the new developments will make NewBo as vibrant during the week as it is on weekends. They chose the neighborhood because its energy fit with that of the company

"We want the ability to have people thinking and creating, and the NewBo district is a hub of that in Cedar Rapids. We wanted to be right there and be part of that, part of that energy," said Eric Engelman, president and CEO of Geonetric.

Just down the street from the future Geonetric site, workers are adding on to an existing house at the corner of 3rd Street and Tenth Avenue SE. NewBo Mainstreet Director Jennifer Prudend says the building will become a boutique clothing store and spa.

Three more projects are slated to break ground after the new year in NewBo, Prudend said, including New Bohemia Station. That project was originally scheduled to start this fall, but the groundbreaking has been pushed back to the spring of 2014.

The four story building will include a movie theater, extended stay motel, lofts, and retail space. To those who visit NewBo on a regular basis, the growth is exciting.

"It's alive now. It's been a lovely celebration of post flood," said Candy Shroyer, who visits NewBo at least once a week for yoga or coffee.

"I think the more they do the better," Christy Vilardo added. "I think it's one of the best things that's happened in our community."

Other projects in the works in NewBo include a two story building with retail on the first floor and living space on the second, and another to build row houses. Both are slated to break ground in the spring of 2014.
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