College District seeing $5 million development project

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) The City of Cedar Rapids is seeing new development in areas that have previously struggled.

One local family is investing in a big way. They kicked off that investment with a ground breaking today.

This area along 1st Ave. is called the College District. The city has been working to help redevelop it.

That’s because many of the buildings are old and unused, soon that will all change.

Along this area of 1st Ave. empty, old buildings are plentiful.

President of the College District, Phil Wasta said it’s been this way for a while.

“It has struggled, the structures that were taken out of here really had served their purpose. there’s a time when buildings are no longer relevant in terms of how they’re used,” said Wasta.

However, not on the 1400 block, that’s seeing new construction.

The Votroubek family deciding to give the area new life after saving up enough money through the ROOTS housing program.

They opened multiple Jimmy John’s and Scooters Franchises a few years ago.

“Then it seems like over the last five years we’re really just been continuing to grow and reinvesting that money into the community itself,” said Carissa Votroubek.

Now they wanted to reinvest  into downtown Cedar Rapids.

“It’s going to be a 3 story complex that has retail businesses on the first floor and then two levels of college apartments for Coe College and Mount Mercy students,” said Votroubek.

The couple saying they believe in the potential of the area.

“This area specifically would be a great fit for Jimmy Johns and Scooters, demographically with the clientele that’s here. especially since it’s close to downtown with people commuting to and from work,” said Votroubek.

Wasta said he hopes this project sparks more private development for the College District.

The building is expected to be finished in July 2019.

As the college district presidents said there is also another groundbreaking tomorrow in the area.

That’s for the redevelopment of the Old Gaurunty Bank on 3rd Avenue.

Ashley Neighbor

Ashley Neighbor

Reporter, Cedar Rapids
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