Two downtown buildings that have been sitting idle are about to get a new life.

The first building is the former home of the Sokol Gymnasium, as the building still proudly shows today (below). It's located at 415 3rd St SE. The Gazette reports it will soon be home to the second location for Backpocket Brewing Company, based in Coralville. It's expected to open this summer with the former gymnasium supporting a 4,500-square-foot brewery and restaurant. Head Brewer Mike Wing said in a press release the pilot pub could quadruple the number of new releases the brewery is able to produce each year. The Cedar Rapids Backpocket Brewing Company will have 28-foot ceilings, a stained glass mural of Prague, and a lofted seating area.

Developer Charles Jones is expected to invest at least $2.5 million into the building, which will also include some high-end apartments, shops, and a lounge on the roof.

Danielle Rodgers

The second building is located on the corner of 5th Ave and 3rd St SE. It once housed the manufacturing department for Norand and then Engineering, Design, and Service for Intermec, who has since built a new building adjacent to it on 3rd St. This building will soon be the new home of Veritas Church.

According to Ryan Hill, Lead Operations Pastor, and Elder, Veritas Church came to Cedar Rapids three years ago. He says they've never left 3rd St. Services were first held at the Chrome Horse before moving to the DoubleTree Hotel and Convention Center. Hill told us, "we see the efforts the city is making to revitalize downtown, especially the Newbo area, and we want to be right in the middle of that effort." Veritas purchased the building in October of 2015 and the plan is to have their first services there in either April or May.

The resurgence of 3rd Street SE from the DoubleTree Hotel to NewBo continues and these are two more key components to the recovery.

Danielle Rodgers