Hawkeye Downs owner to sell property to Cedar Rapids company for $2.6 million

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A southwest Cedar Rapids staple is coming under new ownership.

The owners of Hawkeye Downs announced the upcoming sale of the property on Sept. 29, 2019. (Mary Green/KCRG)

The owner of Hawkeye Downs, a nonprofit organization named All Iowa Agricultural Association, is finalizing a deal to sell the property to CellSite Solutions, a Cedar Rapids-based telecommunications services company.

Julie Kraft, president of the All Iowa Agricultural Association board, said the purchase is for $2.6 million, which will allow Hawkeye Downs to retire its mortgages and liens and still have leftover funds to place into an endowment.

Kraft said the organization had trouble keeping up with the costs of owning and operating the 93-acre property, which includes a paved racetrack and expo hall.

“For years, like many nonprofit organizations, we have struggled financially,” Kraft said, at a press conference Sunday.

The organization’s board is currently finalizing the deal with CellSite Solutions, which will also include an additional $200,000 investment for facility upgrades, and anticipates completing the purchase by the end of 2019.

“This is a place that people come to enjoy themselves, enjoy their passion, things that they love to do,” Carter Kramer, CellSite Solutions President and CEO, said.

CellSite Solutions will then lease the expo hall and racetrack back to the All Iowa Agricultural Association, which said its normal racing and events schedule will go on without any major changes.

“This allows us to continue to have business as usual,” Kraft said.

At least one driver said he’s looking forward to the change in ownership: Elliott Vogel, who grew up coming to the track with his family, which inspired him to start racing.

“I definitely think it’s going to be a step in the right direction for this place, hopefully,” Vogel said.

CellSite didn’t say how specifically it plans to use the $200,000 for facility upgrades. It is, however, moving its headquarters to Hawkeye Downs and says it plans to build a new facility for itself, which won’t interfere with the racetrack or expo hall.

Kramer also said the move will help the company stay in Cedar Rapids, and he expects it to add up to 20 more jobs to its staff in the next two years.