Site set aside for Cedar Rapids casino opened to development

A portion of the nearly eight acres set aside for a casino project in downtown Cedar Rapids along First Ave. S.W. With a casino out of the picture, the city is taking the first steps to look for new development plans.
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - In what amounts to a white flag for now in the hopes of getting a casino in Cedar Rapids, the city is opening up redevelopment the 8 acres of land near downtown that was once set aside for a casino.

The City of Cedar Rapids has designated the land as “First and First West”, sitting along First Avenue west between First and Third Streets on the edge of both downtown and the Kingston Village areas. The city for years has identified it as a key location in the growth and development of the city given it's highly visible location. It was set aside for several years as a proposed location for a casino but the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission twice denied applications for a casino license in Cedar Rapids, citing too many casinos already in the region.

The city wants to select a single developer as "Master Developer" for the plot, developing a vision for the property to enhance the city.

“This site represents a very exciting development opportunity for our entire community, and we are eager to begin a conversation on the possibilities moving forward,” says Director of Community Development Jennifer Pratt. “We are confident that this site will attract visionary, forward-thinking developers who will bring unique ideas to the table as we look to transform this property.”

The Master Developer is expected to develop plans for development on the land, conduct feasibility studies and help the city then host open houses on the plans.

Developers interested in taking on the project must apply by November 9th. The city hopes to start input and visioning sessions this coming Spring.