A large complex coming to the Coralville Industrial Park will feature about 10,000 square feet of storefront retail and more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse space, including a 46,350-square-foot facility for Randy’s Flooring. IMAGE CITY OF CORALVILLE
By Katharine Carlon
The west end of James Street near Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville has been a hotspot for development over the past few years, with new hotels, retail outlets and restaurants popping up regularly. Now, the far east end of that area is set for growth of its own, with a trio of projects that could add more than 100,000 square feet of warehouse space and about 10,000 square feet of retail to the area known as Coralville Industrial Park.
At its Jan. 10 meeting, the Coralville City Council signaled it would approve a rezoning and site plan for developer JLS Development Corp. to build two warehouse facilities with a combined 69,000 square feet of storage space at 1930 and 1960 James St., located at the end of a cul-de-sac near Kahler Collision Center and Quality Care Storage’s Coralville location.
If approved on third consideration at the council’s next meeting, the two warehouses will join an already approved project also being developed by JLS at neighboring 1900 James: a combination L-shaped building comprised of 10,300 square feet of street-facing retail and 37,800 square feet of warehouse space located at the rear of the facility.
“It’s a lot of warehouse space,” said Jim Kessler, Coralville’s building and zoning official, noting that all three buildings would share access between buildings and to the street.
The previously approved 1900 James St. facility will include storefront space facing Second Avenue – familiar to many as the Coralville Strip – as well as University of Iowa-owned property to the east, he said, “with the idea being retailers could use the warehouse space behind it or it could be open warehouse.” Construction on the building, valued at $3.6 million, has already begun, according to Coralville building permit records.
No tenants for that building have yet been announced, Mr. Kessler said, though the retail construction featuring stone pillars, smooth masonry and red awnings could make the facility attractive to retailers with large inventories.
“For an industrial area, it’s a very good look,” he told the city council before it approved the project in the fall.
Mr. Kessler said the 1930 James St. building, featuring 46,350 square feet of warehouse space, will be used as warehouse space by Randy’s Flooring, while the 23,000-square-foot facility at 1960 James St. would be built on spec.
Mike Detweiler, manager of Randy’s Coralville store, located just a mile and a half away at 401 Second St., declined to talk about the new facility and referred all questions to company founder and president Randy Ward. Mr. Ward did not return phone calls from the CBJ before press time.
The 40-year-old flooring company has undergone a number of transitions over the past few years, including the opening of an expansive 23,000-square-foot showroom on Blairs Ferry Road NE in Cedar Rapids last year and Mr. Ward’s decision in 2016 to convert the business into an employee-owned enterprise.
“It’s an honor to have reached 40 years in the flooring business,” Mr. Ward said in a statement celebrating the opening of the new Cedar Rapids store last spring. “I opened the business in Iowa City just days after finishing my finals at the University of Iowa. Within a year, we moved to our current location on the Coralville Strip – long before the street had stoplights. It’s been an amazing journey and I look forward to seeing where the business will go from here.”