Already a subscriber? Log in
- Unparalleled business coverage of the Iowa City / Cedar Rapids corridor.
- Immediate access to subscriber-only content on our website.
- 26 issues per year delivered digitally, in print or both.
- Support locally owned and operated journalism.
This story is a part of the CBJ’s Newsmakers edition. This year-end wrap-up from the staff of the Corridor Business Journal is a compilation of the year’s most noteworthy articles and projects, as told through stories that appeared in the bi-weekly issues of the CBJ. This story was originally published in March 2022.
In 2017, The Ders Group officially broke ground on Park Place, and although a lot has changed in the world since then, the need for a space to “live, work and play” has not. Stretching alongside Interstate 380 over more than 450 acres, the $275 million Park Place project consists of single-family residential homes, mixed-use developments with commercial retail on the main level and apartments on the upper floors, multifamily buildings, and junior box and big box commercial spaces. The Ders Group leads the ambitious development spearheaded by Scott Andersen and his sons, Alex and Nick. When preliminary planning for Park Place was underway, both Alex and Nick completed their remaining years at college. They learned from their dad when possible before starting their career with the Midwest real estate firm. “My dad does a lot of the oversight and development work but the vertical construction and leasing — all that stuff is between me and Nick,” said Alex Andersen, CEO of The Ders Group. Now, half a decade since the initial launch, the brothers are beginning to see their hard work pay off. Earlier this month, the Cedar Rapids-based iGYM held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new location in Park Place in a 9,600 square-foot space within The New York building. It is the latest tenant in the building, joining the ranks of Casa Tequila and 380 Nails. With more than 1,500 members, Veritas Church is adding Tiffin as a home on 20 acres of land, too. When The Ders Group first announced Veritas, they only had “300 to 400 members,” said Alex Andersen. Perhaps most noteworthy is the inclusion of Toptracer, a subsidiary of Topgolf. Toptracer will have 52 covered and heated bays connected to a nearly 40,000-square-foot full-service bar. Topgolf is the social, high-tech driving range where microchips are embedded in the golf balls. At Toptracer locations, however, the golf balls are the same you’d find on the PGA Tour, so swing feedback is instead tracked from high-speed cameras to trace the trajectory and speed of each hit ball. Park Place is also teaming up with Johnson County Ambulance Service and the City of Tiffin to build a four-acre facility. Speedy Mike’s Car Wash will open up a new location to expand out from their North Liberty footprint. They begin construction this year. The directory doesn’t end there. Pending approval from the city, a 12-acre family entertainment center will be the next business to call Park Place home, but the brothers wouldn’t disclose more information at this time. With all the businesses coming to Tiffin, Park Place balances the project by offering all new housing options. Some of the single-family homes with cul-de-sacs under construction will be classified as million-dollar homes. Still, some houses will be more “middle of the line” and more affordable apartments in the mixed-use buildings, said President and CFO Nick Andersen. The project’s center will focus on The New York property and the other upcoming mixed-use buildings. According to the website, the New York will have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments that are available to rent by May 1. Later this year, the team hopes to break ground on three more mixed-use buildings, including the Ventnor. “These mixed-use buildings usually take 18 to 24 months to build. So hopefully, construction materials and all that start to come around again, and we can stay on track,” said Alex Andersen. Park Place builders plan to soon finish the remaining three Aster Village multifamily buildings just south of Oakdale. Pre-leasing is underway at some of these locations. Other single-family homes will open this year behind Veritas Church, and the Andersens believe they will get to break ground on the final phase of the Park Place single-family residential homes. Those lots could be available at the beginning of 2023, if not at the end of this year. The city has granted preliminary approval for several condo buildings, potentially up to eight stories. However, there is no final layout or approved site plans, said Alex Andersen. It could be a case of “right place, right time” for the Andersen family. The latest census showed that Tiffin is undergoing a significant population spurt, with the city growing 132% from 2010 to 2020. City officials expect the population to double again by 2030. “I think not many people knew about Tiffin as recently as a number of years ago,” said Alex Andersen. “But now, with North Liberty, Coralville and Tiffin all expanding, it kind of feels like [the area] is coming together. So I think what we’re trying to do — and what’s happening at Park Place — is a huge benefit for the community. It gives everybody here in town something to do but also places to live as well.”