Downtown Wrigley building leveled for parking lot

Owner Guaranty Bank had considered other uses for structure, but 'it just wasn't that well-built'

By Rick Smith, The Gazette
Published: April 23 2014 | 1:16 pm in Banking, Business Rotator, Construction, Front Rotator,

CEDAR RAPIDS — Demolition this week of the Downtown Wrigley Bar & Grille had nothing to do with the already dimming hopes for this year's version of the Chicago Cubs.

The bar at 315 Second Ave. SE is owned by Guaranty Realty Inc., and Chris Lindell, president/CEO of Guaranty Bank & Trust Co., said on Wednesday the real estate arm of the bank holding company decided that the cost to upgrade the bar building for a possible different use did not justify keeping it in place.

“It just didn't make sense,” Lindell said. “It just wasn't that well-built a building. It kind of served its useful life. So it came down. That way we don't have the liability associated with it.”

In the near-term, he said the spot will become a parking lot for 20 vehicles.

Guaranty owns three-quarters of the entire block, and Lindell said Guaranty Realty has worked with OPN Architects Inc. and Ryan Companies US in the last year to investigate what kind of building might go up on available space there.

“Long run, unfortunately, there is a lot of commercial office space available in downtown Cedar Rapids,” he said.

Interestingly, Lindell said plans to build on Guaranty property might have been accelerated if the proposed local casino project had succeeded last week in securing a state gaming license. It was turned down by the Iowa Racing & Gaming Commission.

“If the casino had gone through, there might have been a lot of great things we could have built there with the influx of additional people,” Lindell said. “Since that's not the case, it may be awhile.

“ ... Something someday is going to happen. … We'd love to have some more activity in downtown and help in the continued revitalization of downtown. There's been a lot of great things that have happened since (the flood of) 2008.”

A brief history of 315 Second Ave. SE

1903: Kern Baking and Record Printing Co. was downstairs, with a dressmaker on second floor.

Damour's Food Market operated out of 315-319 Second Ave. SE from 1908 until 1922.

Western Union was there in the 1930s through 1940s

The former Western Union Building housed a Collins Radio site when Collins took out a five-year lease on the second floor in 1952.

Paris Academy of Beauty Culture School No. 2 opened on the second floor in 1961.

Paris Academy became Capri Cosmetology College when Ed Bisenius and Chuck Fiegen bought Capri in 1977 and moved the school from the second floor to the first.

The building was sold to Guaranty Bank in 2003 and Capri moved out.

It then housed a series of bars — Dublin City Pub, Teeghan's and, finally, Downtown Wrigley Bar & Grille.

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