Sep 2012

Tour Historic Flood-Affected Properties in New Bo and Kingston

CEDAR RAPIDS – Hoping to cast a wide net for potential buyers with bright business ideas and an eye for preservation potential, local preservation groups are hosting a self-guided walk/bike/or drive tour on Sept. 15 from 1-3 p.m. of a dozen city-owned historic buildings in the booming New Bohemia and newly defined Kingston commercial districts. The event is free. Access will be limited to the exterior of each building.

Save Cedar Rapids Heritage and the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District are showcasing the properties which were identified by the Cedar Rapids Historic Preservation Commission as having potential historic significance. Each property was purchased from private owners by the city of Cedar Rapids using federal disaster funds following the flood of 2008. With a few exceptions, and with some upfront costs attached, the properties can be purchased from the city based on their most recent assessed value by buyers who can show a viable funding and development plan.

“The general public may not realize these buildings are on the market, how they can be acquired, and how funding incentives like state and federal historic tax credits make these potentially lucrative business investments, especially considering the rapid growth of areas like New Bohemia” said Beth DeBoom, president of Save Cedar Rapids Heritage. “We’d like to save the few historic properties that remain, and get a sense of whether there’s interest in taking on some hard-core renovation projects for a rock-bottom price. These are properties that will require some vision, business savvy and hard work.”

The tour also includes examples of properties whose owners have already risen to that preservation challenge, including Parlor City Pub and Eatery at 1137 Third Street SE, and a work-in-progress, the Louis Sullivan-designed Wells Fargo bank on First Street SW recently purchased from Wells Fargo by a private investor and intended for reuse as restaurant, retail and office space.

Volunteers will be stationed at each stop to answer questions about the building’s history. Volunteers will also be in the commons area at CSPS to answer questions about restoration incentives like state and federal historic tax credits and to explain the process for bidding on the properties through the necessary city channels.

Maps will be available at check-in at CSPS, 1103 Third Street SE, and will include brief histories of each building, assessed values, and a description of interiors.

The tour buildings are:

  1. 131 14th Ave. SE
  2. 1207 Second St.  SE, “Tent and Awning”
  3. 1216 Second Street SE
  4. 1018 Second Street SE
  5. 1301 Third Street SE
  6. 213 13th Ave. SE
  7. 426 First St. SW, formerly Emerson Lock & Key
  8. 207 Third Ave. SW
  9. 120 Third Ave. SW, an office building
  10. 102 Third Ave. SW, the Gatto Building
  11. 121 Third Street SW, formerly law offices
  12. 222 Third Ave. SW, Barron Motor Supply

Buildings to be showcased as success stories include:

  1. Jelinek exterior restoration for mixed use/commercial – Jelinek Cos/Parlor City Pub and Eatery, 1127 3rd Street SE
  2. Adaptive Reuse – National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library, 87 16th Avenue SW
  3. Project Excellence – Legion Arts, CSPS Hall, 1103 3rd Street SE
  4. 101 Third Ave., Louis Sullivan-designed/Wells Fargo bank
  5. The Suchy Building, 1006 Third Street SE
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