Addressing the Frenzy Over A New ‘Tallest Building in Cedar Rapids’
I've worked downtown for 16 years, and I've never seen it more vibrant than it is right now. Thanks, of course, to the recovery made since the 2008 flood. So believe me, I am no enemy of progress.
But, as CBS2 recently reported, a panel has made their recommendation to the city council from among three proposals for a new project in downtown Cedar Rapids, and their choice has me concerned.
The proposals included various housing, retail and office complexes of 11, 14 and 28-stories, the latter of which would make it the new "tallest building in Cedar Rapids", dethroning the Alliant Tower. That happens to be the one this committee approved. It looks like a beautiful design and would offer a lot to residents who frequent downtown. I particularly like the first-floor grocery store idea. However, aside from what the project may cost taxpayers, I feel like the whole quest for the "tallest building" is a little over-ambitious. Because, frankly, where will it end? What happens in 20 years if someone decides we need something even taller than 28-stories to define the Cedar Rapids skyline? We'll be back at square one, perhaps resuming this process all over again. It becomes a vicious circle.
The fact that there are proposals of 11 and 14 stories also on the table suggest this could be done on a much smaller scale and serve a more practical purpose. But, I guess something that is "just another building" isn't as glamorous as a majestic new "tallest high-rise in town". I'm also concerned about the planned location of First Street and 3rd Avenue SE. From what I've always seen, this is a small but moderately busy parking lot right next to the Paramount Theatre. I would suggest a few levels of public parking attached to whatever the project ends up becoming, and according to another report, this is being addressed.
I'm not saying they shouldn't go all-out in developing 'One Park Place', as it would be called. I'm just hoping certain concerns are considered. Let's think less about the exterior of the building, because all three options will beautify the city, and more about the purpose it serves inside.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.