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$1.5M in State Money Awarded to Cedar Rapids Downtown Housing Projects

November 23, 2021 | Economic Development & Workforce

Two downtown housing projects received a major funding boost from the State of Iowa when the Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded redevelopment tax credits last month.

Under a proposal by developer Steve Emerson, upper floors of the Iowa Building, located at the corner of 4th Avenue and 3rd Street SE, will be converted to downtown housing units. The state will contribute $750,000 in redevelopment tax credits for the project. The Iowa Building is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places at and is considered an Iowa Grayfield site. Grayfield sites are abandoned properties that are vacant, blighted, obsolete or otherwise underutilized with some infrastructure in place; usually the property’s current use is outdated.

Another downtown Grayfield site being developed by Emerson, will also receive $750,000 in tax credits to convert the old Skogman Realty headquarters property at 411 1st Avenue SE into the Palmer Building housing development. Both projects will add 84 housing units to downtown Cedar Rapids.

“These projects represent significant investment in our vibrant downtown community,” said Doug Neumann, executive director of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance. “These tax incentives from the State will lead to $21 million in construction and development for the city, not to mention increase housing, which is sorely needed in our downtown area.”

In total, the State awarded $15 million in tax credit funding, including $75,000 to the Webb Acres Gala Barn project located on the grounds of the former Iowa Braille School in Vinton. The Economic Alliance assisted in the applications for the Cedar Rapids housing projects and the Webb Barn, which will serve as a community event space available for weddings, receptions, parties and other events.