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For the third time in the last five years, the city of Cedar Rapids is soliciting redevelopment proposals for the former Ambroz Recreation Center in southeast Cedar Rapids. The city previously sought redevelopment proposals for the building, at 2000 Mount Vernon Rd. SE, in 2017 and 2019. One Ambroz redevelopment proposal was submitted after the 2017 request, and was subsequently withdrawn. Two other proposals were submitted after the 2019 request, with the council selecting a proposal to redevelop the building for a senior housing project dubbed Vernon Heights Estates, under an adaptive reuse designation. That proposal was withdrawn in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cedar Rapids community development planner Adam Lindenlaub told the council at its Aug. 7 meeting. This time around, Mr. Lindenlaub said, due to the potential availability of Community Development Block Grant disaster funding, “staff thought it would be a good idea to issue another RFP so any prospective proposals could take advantage of that.” The 17,000-square-foot building sits on a site totaling approximately 1.5 acres. It’s designated for urban medium intensity development under the city’s land use plan, but is currently zoned public institutional based on its most recent usage and would need to be rezoned if other uses were proposed. The urban medium density designation would allow development of single-unit or multi-unit residential projects at the site, Mr. Lindenlaub said.
Development objectivesThe city has set development objectives for the property, including:
- A financially viable redevelopment based on current market conditions;
- Encouraging investment consistent with the goals of the Mount Vernon Road Corridor Action Plan; and
- A preference for retaining a unique sense of place through renovation and/or new construction.