CEDAR RAPIDS – Charles Jones looks beyond the broken windows, missing stucco and flooded basement of the house he had moved more than 17 months ago in southeast Cedar Rapids.
Some have pointed to the building – relocated several blocks away from its former site at 1113 Second Ave. SE – as an example of why demolition and a clean slate are the preferred development methods in Cedar Rapids.
Jones, 29, president of Green Development of Iowa City, sees it differently.
“I see potential,” he said Thursday, while checking on work under way in the building, now at 616 Fourth Ave. SE. “I see how it was, and how it will be, once it’s finished.”
The 1906 Arts and Crafts-style home was the only building saved out of about a dozen that were razed to make way for the forthcoming Physicians’ Clinic of Iowa medical pavilion and parking.
At 4,000-square-feet and 150 tons, the building was moved in May 2011 to a lot previously occupied by the Palace Apartments.
Jones cited finances as one of the reasons behind the delay in getting the former home ready as office space for new tenants, which include an insurance agency.
Already, his company has poured more than $250,000 into the building, with moving costs alone totaling about $110,000.
He also has been occupied with other projects, including renovation of the former Witwer Building, 305 Second Ave. SE, which now houses White Star Ale House, and two smaller buildings in southeast Cedar Rapids.
Sweetiepie’s Chicken & Fish Fry, 624 12th Ave. SE, opened in one of those buildings in March. The other, the former Village Auto Repair Service, 629 12th Ave. SE, is being readied for a hot dog cafe, Jones said.
Crews must pump water out of the basement of the Fourth Avenue house before they begin pouring the floor and starting other renovation work, he said, adding that he hopes to have the building ready by spring 2013.
While work on the building has taken longer than expected, Jones, who had five houses moved out of the way of a road project in Waterloo, said he is still a proponent for relocating buildings.
About half of the renovation costs will be recouped in the form of historic tax credits, he said, and the craftsmanship of the historic building is difficult to replicate.
Amenities include five fireplaces, oak woodwork, a sun porch and grand staircase.
“It’s just a beautiful building,” Jones said. “At the time and still now, I think economically, the numbers make sense.”