New Competition Races into Downtown Cedar Rapids Next Year

Nov 22, 2019

They say opportunity knocks softly. A new competition in 2020 is opportunity knocking, and it’s anything but soft.

Race for the Space is a new opportunity for businesses to compete to win free rent in Downtown Cedar Rapids for up to one year plus marketing assistance. The competition is being championed by the Economic Alliance’s Community Development Innovation Council. Race for the Space in Downtown Cedar Rapids was inspired by a similar competition in Downtown Ithaca, New York.

In the decade following the devastating flood of 2008, Downtown Cedar Rapids has seen incredible momentum – new housing opportunities, expansion of large employers, thriving cultural amenities, growing attendance to downtown events, greater connectivity to surrounding core districts and more. Race for the Space aims to continue that momentum by seeking out the next exciting, must-see destination in the district.

What is Race for the Space looking for?
The sky’s the limit. Our winner could be an experiential retailer, event space, maker-space, dual-purpose business or a wildly different culinary experience. In a world that is increasingly shifting to online interactions, we’re looking for someone with a big idea that will draw people to Downtown Cedar Rapids and thus lead to more foot traffic for existing businesses.

Look for the Race for the Space application opening at and more details on the competition in early 2020. If you’re interested in supporting Race for the Space or want to learn more, reach out to Downtown Executive Director, Jesse Thoeming, at

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