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Project at Louis Sullivan Bank Building Seeks Linn County Aid

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Linn County is being asked to support renovation of a west-bank downtown landmark.

County supervisors got their first look this morning at developer Fred Timko's request for support for his plan to convert the Louis Sullivan-designed Wells Fargo bank building at 101 Third Ave. SW into an upscale office and residential project.

Darrin Gage, the county's director of policy and administration, said Timko wants the county to forego for 10 years its share of property taxes on the site's existing value. The city has already granted the same request, and the site is in a tax-increment financing (TIF) district granting Timko an exemption from the property taxes on the improvements' added value.

Timko's request will be on Wednesday's formal session agenda.

"I'm hoping that on the west side of the river, especially with the development we've got going on there, we'll be seeing more," said Supervisor Linda Langston, D-Cedar Rapids. "This has brought to our attention we'll need to have a policy in place."

Because taxes are paid on the previous year's assessment, Timko's proposed rebate would take effect in September 2014. Gage said the county receives about 16 percent of revenues generated by the site, which has a $1.8 million assessed value.

Built in 1910 for People's Bank and Trust, the bank has been vacant since the June 2008 flood. Preservation Iowa named the bank one of 2012's Most Endangered Properties.

Under plans announced by Timko last fall, a restaurant may move into the architecturally notable bank building. The newer adjoining office building would remain, and new six-story residential condominium would be built on the present parking lot, fronting on Fourth Avenue SW.

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