Riverfront buildings in Cedar Rapids move toward redevelopment
NOTE: A meeting for developers interested in learning more about the Knutson Building is scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 29, in the Collins Conference Room in the lower level of Cedar Rapids City Hall, 101 First St. SE.
CEDAR RAPIDS — Two riverfront buildings with combined centuries of history could both see new futures.
The Cedar Rapids City Council this week agreed to accept bids on the Knutson Building, 525 H St. SW (now known as Valor Way.) Meanwhile, the Linn County Board of Supervisors is leaning in the same direction for the neighboring Mott Building.
Darrin Gage, Linn County director of policy & administration, said there has been considerable interest in the Mott Building, which is county-owned and on the National Register of Historic Places.
Offering the building for sale through a request for proposal process would evaluate a number of criteria; not exclusively the offer price, Gage noted.
Those include the compatibility of the proposed use with surrounding uses, consistency of the proposed use with the city’s planned development of the area and the bidder’s demonstrated ability to complete restoration and development projects.
“The Board of Supervisors would like to see the Mott Building renovated and not demolished,” Gage added.
Built in 1900 as Iowa Wind Mill & Pump Co., the Mott Building sits at a higher elevation than the neighboring Knutson Building.
A meeting for developers interested in the Knutson Building will be held at 3 p.m. July 29, 2014, in the lower level of Cedar Rapids City Hall. The City Council on Tuesday agreed to offer the building through the request for proposal process.
City Planner Tom Smith said the building is one of the oldest commercial structures remaining on the west side of Cedar Rapids, dating to 1885. The potential developer will need to show how the building will be integrated with the city’s planned flood protection system, he told the council.
That could include elevating the structure up to 14 feet or relocating the building up to 100 yards away, Smith said.
Jennifer Pratt, interim director of the city’s Community Development Department, has said the building is too close to the Cedar River for a levee to be used for flood control.
She noted that a proposal from KHB Redevelopment Group of Cedar Rapids cited a cost to move the building a short distance at $750,000 to $1 million.
Smith said the most recent assessed value before the city acquired the building was $129,121, but the City would accept bids of a different price, depending on the value that the proposal would add to the integrity and re-use of the structure.
Originally a condensed milk factory, the Knutson Building has also housed a woodworking plant for gunstocks, the Warehouse bar, a haunted house and scrap metal business.
Sept. 30 is the deadline for proposals to the city. The City Council will consider the proposals on Oct. 14.
For the Mott Building, Gage said the matter will be heard by the Board of Supervisors in coming weeks, after which the request for proposal will be advertised. No deadline has been set at this point, he said.