Nomination of district progressing

Cedar Rapids hopes to nominate a stretch of Third Avenue SW as a historic district

Cindy Hadish
Published: December 16 2012 | 6:00 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 3:24 am in
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CEDAR RAPIDS — The city is moving forward with a goal to nominate a short stretch of Third Avenue SW as a historic district, even as it numbers the days for nearby buildings that advocates had hoped to save.

Historic Preservation Commission members learned at a meeting Thursday that the city plans to raze the former Emerson Lock & Key, 428 First St. SW; former law offices at 121 Third St. SW and an office/apartment building at 100 First St. SW.

Staff liaison Thomas Smith said the buildings have long since passed the 60-day hold the commission placed on the demolitions in February.

At least one person had expressed interest in redeveloping two of the properties, damaged in the Floods of 2008, but the requests were withdrawn, Smith said.

Advocates of saving the buildings previously said the developer was asked to move at least one of the buildings or withdraw his letter of interest, so the land could be cleared for new development.

A group that hopes to bring gambling to Cedar Rapids has identified the area as a possible site for a casino.

“Nothing is planned in the short-term,” Smith said of the site.

At the same meeting, representatives of Summit Envirosolutions of St. Paul, Minn., presented the timeline for nominating the Third Avenue SW Commercial District to the National Register of Historic Places.

The district, from First Street to Third Street SW, only has about a dozen buildings remaining, the most significant of which is the former Wells Fargo Bank, 101 Third Ave. SW.

Developer Fred Timko is purchasing the Louis Sullivan-designed building, which is individually listed on the National Register. Timko also plans to build a new six-story residential condominium next to the bank on First Street SW.

Andrew Schmidt, project manager for Summit Envirosolutions, said the company is conducting research and a field survey for the nomination.

Property owners can be eligible for grants and state and federal tax credits for rehabilitating income-producing properties on the register, he noted.

Schmidt asked anyone with knowledge of the buildings’ history to pass information along to Smith.

The goal is to send the nomination to the state review committee in October.

Summit’s senior architectural historian, Marjorie Pearson, said because so few buildings remain standing, losing any more could lessen the chances for that historic designation.

“The loss of any building could have an impact on the nomination,” she said.

FYI:

Anyone with background on commercial buildings on Third Avenue SW, between First and Third streets, can contact Thomas Smith at: t.smith@cedar-rapids.org

 

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