Plans for a new $50-million dollar commercial and retail development in northeast Cedar Rapids got a first “go-ahead” from the city council on Tuesday.
Artist's illustration of the proposed new $50-million dollar Edgewood Town Center development.
The project called Edgewood Town Center would go up on 55 acres of ground between Blairs Ferry Road and Highway 100 on Edgewood Rd. N.E. The developer envisions a mix of retail, office and commercial space.
But there’s more involved than just the one proposed development.
Developer Joe Ahmann, of the Ahmann Companies, also owns The Fountains project across the street from the site and Peck’s Landing, a development just across Blairs Ferry Road from the other projects, in Hiawatha.
Combined, that’s almost 100 acres of relatively new commercial space that city officials believe could become one of the hottest areas for commercial growth in the coming years.
Ahmann says it’s no mystery why developers want to start work now. With the complete Highway 100 bypass likely opening in weeks, even more traffic will be coming through the area.
“We believe that will become a pretty good center, hub for commercial use whether it’s retail, office, mixed use or whatever. It will also spur more housing that has been happening to the west and the north,” Ahmann said.
Ahmann wouldn’t reveal the first tenant for the new commercial development.
But city council members, in starting the rezoning process, said it was going to be a national big-box retailer new to the area. That retailers wants a 200,000 square foot building.
Ahmann says construction should start next year and if demand isn’t there for retail he would switch to space for service-type businesses or offices.
Jennifer Pratt, community development director for Cedar Rapids, says this is development the city has expected for years.
“It’s not surprising given the extension of Highway 100 so it’s definitely an area of opportunity. I would also say it’s consistent with the city making sure where new housing is occurring that those amenities are available,” she said.
Ahmann says historically most people looking for commercial or retail space in Cedar Rapids ask first what is available near Lindale Mall.
With little land left there, he says the Edgewood Town Center, The Fountains and Peck’s Landing developments will likely become the new first choice for many projects.
As part of the standard incentive for new projects, the city council is also prepared to cut property taxes in half for ten years on the added value of the development.