The Roosevelt Celebrates Re-Opening in Downtown Cedar Rapids

By Cindy Hadish, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa- The Roosevelt saw its third grand opening since the grand hotel was built in downtown Cedar Rapids in 1927.

A "re-opening" today, Wednesday, Oct. 6, marked the 12-story building's reincarnation at 200 First Ave. NE as a 96-unit affordable apartment complex.

George Sherman, president of Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates, the building's property manager, noted that The Roosevelt opened in the 1920s as one of the Midwest's premier hotels. It opened again in the 1970s with a mix of rental and hotel units.

The latest redevelopment was just beginning when downtown Cedar Rapids was flooded in June 2008.

What began as a $3 million to $4 million investment turned into a $14.4 million project, which included Iowa Finance Authority funding through federal disaster housing tax credits, the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act fund and Multifamily Loan Program.

"It takes a whole town – a village – to make this happen," Sherman said. "People are excited to be moving back downtown."

Elevators and electrical and mechanical systems were replaced or repaired.

Sherman said carpeting in the lobby was removed to reveal the building's original marble-like floors and a staircase that was hidden behind sheetrock was exposed and restored.

Already, about one-third of the units have been rented.

Sherman plans to announce in the next few weeks the names of two restaurants that will be moving into the building's ground level .

The apartments are within walking distance of 41 restaurants and night clubs that have reopened since the flood, said Doug Neumann, president/CEO of the Downtown District.

Delissa Van Zee said she was attracted to the building's history and views of the Cedar River and downtown.

"You can see a wash of lights and activity and know that I get to be a part of that," said Van Zee, who moved into a two-bedroom apartment in September.

Parking is convenient with a ramp next door, but that parkade will be removed in the coming year to make way for the city's new Event Center.

One-bedroom apartments are $495 per month and two-bedroom/two bathroom units are $639. Both include utilities.

Individuals can earn up to $28,380 annually to qualify and two-person households can earn up to $32,460.
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