• Proposed Riverfront West project gets first nod in IC
• Ryan Companies celebrate three decades in Cedar Rapids
• AMP owners say sale-leaseback positions it for growth
• Show us the place making you great in CBJ Workspaces
IFA opens up $1M in derecho-related rental help
• Corridor events, KCRG-TV9 headlines and First Alert Forecast
Proposed Riverfront West project gets first nod in IC
A large mixed use project that could include two multi-family residential buildings, a hotel, townhouse-style housing, retail and a building intended for senior living passed its first hurdle late last week, winning approval for a comprehensive plan amendment and rezoning from the Iowa City Planning and Zoning Commission.

Developers of Riverfront West, a multi-use, multi-building project set on a four-acre parcel roughly bounded by South Riverside Drive, Myrtle Avenue, the Iowa Interstate Railroad and Olive Street, sought to amend the city's Downtown and Riverfront Crossings Master Plan to include just over three acres of the property into the plan's West Riverfront Subdistrict and to rezone the entire site, currently set aside for residential and community commercial use, as part of the Riverfront Crossings, West Riverfront zone.

Applicant Steve Long of Des-Moines based K&F Properties, who assembled properties from five different owners between December 2019 and this past June, also requested a height bonus from five to seven stories for one of several planned buildings north of and abutting the Iowa Interstate Railroad.

The idea, according to Shive-Hattery Principal Architect Mark Seabold, who is working with Mr. Long on the project, is "expanding the character of the downtown area across the river."

Mr. Seabold said he and Mr. Long had been in communication with the city for more than a year about a vision for the site, which remains conceptual for now.

"We've discussed initial ideas of what it could be," he said, adding that possibilities include an active living facility for seniors, a hotel, neighborhood retail and a variety of residential options surrounding a central courtyard. "The vision at this point in time is still active and in flux as we go through the rezoning process and figure out what the possibilities are."

In recommending approval of the zoning changes, city staff noted redevelopment of the site, which is currently home to several apartment buildings and a scattering of mostly closed businesses, including the former Red Pepper restaurant and an old Kum & Go parking lot, meets the goals of the Riverfront Crossing plan and is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

"First, it allows for a more cohesive development with better circulation and a high-quality, pedestrian-oriented design," they wrote. "The concept also contains a mix of senior and market-rate housing, retail, hospitality and neighborhood services, all organized around a central, pedestrian-scale plaza."

Staff recommended - and planning and zoning commissioners agreed - that the rezoning was dependent on K&F meeting several conditions, including installing six-foot sidewalks along its South Riverside Drive frontage, creating a pedestrian linkage through the project site between Myrtle Avenue and South Riverside Drive and mitigating impacts of any height bonuses on nearby single-family homeowners.

The comprehensive plan amendment and zoning changes will have to be approved by the city council before the project can move forward.

IMAGE: A conceptual rendering of what a new mixed use development on the west side of Riverside Drive at the corner of Myrtle Avenue could look like. CREDIT SHIVE-HATTERY
Ryan Companies celebrate three decades in Cedar Rapids
Ryan Companies celebrated the 30-year anniversary of its Cedar Rapids office Nov. 1, paying tribute to the home of the Minneapolis-based company's first regional expansion and to several of its longest lasting relationships.
Many of Ryan Companies' original employees are still working with Ryan Companies, including two who have been with the company from the beginning, 12 who have been on the job more than 20 years and nine who have surpassed 15 years.

Ryan Companies’ President Jeff Smith, was Cedar Rapids’ president for eight years after helping establish the office in 1990.
“It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come since the office opened 30 years ago,” Mr. Smith said. “There has been so much community involvement and so many great projects along the way. Our team there has come together to produce some of our most valued relationships, and I’m grateful I was part of it.”
Over the years, Ryan’s Cedar Rapids office has completed projects for some of the metro’s largest employers, including CRST, Collins Aerospace, Great America Financial Services, Mercy Medical Center and Alliant Energy.
The office has also contributed to the community many times over the past three decades, specifically during the historical floods in 2008 and the derecho of 2020. In 2008, Ryan provided flood relief by repairing downtown buildings and building new projects including Cedar Rapids City Hall, Central Fire Station, Cedar Rapids Public Library, Ladd Library, the Cedar Rapids City Services Center, and the Paramount Theatre. This past summer, the team helped with clean-up, reconstruction and recovery from the unexpected derecho.
Ryan’s Cedar Rapids office also supports nonprofits within the community, including the United Way of East Central Iowa, Matthew 25, Boys and Girls Club of the Corridor and JDRF. This week is the office’s annual “Ryan Gives Back” campaign week. To celebrate giving back and their 30-year milestone, office employees will participate in fundraising event, volunteer opportunities and a pledge drive to benefit local organizations.

IMAGE: Ryan Companies is celebrating its 30th year in Cedar Rapids. CREDIT RYAN COMPANIES
AMP owners say sale-leaseback positions it for growth
The private equity firm that owns Advanced Material Processing (AMP), a new platform consisting of Marion Process Solutions and Kason Corporation of New Jersey, says a recent sale-leaseback transaction involving its Marion facility "unlocks significant value for AMP to redeploy toward its growth initiatives."

Texas-based MAG Capital Partners, LLC announced last week it had acquired Marion Process Solution's corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility for an undisclosed sum. A review of sales records filed with the Linn County Assessor's office indicates the sales were recorded Oct. 22 for a combined $3.83 million.

“As a general practice, we do not seek to own real estate as part of our portfolio investments, since real estate often fails to provide the higher levels of return that we seek in our investments, more generally," explained Chip Grace, a partner with May River Capital, the Chicago-based private equity firm that acquired Marion Process Solutions and united it with Kason last year.

"The heightened demand in the market for sale-leaseback transactions presents a unique opportunity to improve AMP’s capitalization, at relatively low rental rates, and enables us to redeploy the capital into higher value investments within this platform," Mr. Grace continued. "I think you’ll see us doing more of these types of transactions, given the attractive market conditions."

May River Capital officials said AMP is poised for growth - a fact it underlined in announcing Brad Sterner as its chief executive officer last week. Mr. Sterner was previously the company's executive chairman.

“During the pandemic, AMP has aggressively responded to industry needs and as a result, has experienced significant growth serving its food, pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and industrial customers,” said Steve Griesemer, a partner with May River Capital. “We are proud of the hard work and dedication of the AMP team and we look forward to continued growth of the platform, both organically and through acquisitions."

Mr. Griesemer said Mr. Sterner was chosen for his "deep experience in the highly fragmented material processing equipment sector."

"Combining Brad’s experience with the existing talented team will drive organic growth, and his experience integrating new operations positions us well for further complimentary acquisitions,” he added.
Show us the place making you great in CBJ Workspaces
It's no secret that where you work impacts how you work. Your physical environment affects how you feel, think and behave in relation to your job, and can help build a culture of engagement.

Show off the places and spaces in which you work in the CBJ's nationally award-winning featureWorkspaces. Workspaces spotlights unique and stylish places to work in the Corridor, and explores how they are helping employees navigate their workdays and while encouraging client and customer loyalty.

Show us your space by sending in a submission. Projects should be recently completed (within the past three years) and located within the Corridor's seven-county region. Everything from offices and clinics to warehouses and retail shops or restaurants are eligible - we want to see the wide variety of places where you work and the spaces that make it possible.

Submissions will need to include high-resolution photos of your interior, a short write-up describing the space and information from interior designers and/or business leaders working on the project. Full details are available here. Completed submissions and questions can be sent to Katharine Carlon at

IMAGE: The Hotel Millwright in Amana appeared in the most recent edition of CBJ's Workspaces.
IFA opens up $1M in derecho-related rental help
The Iowa Finance Authority has announced a total of more than $1 million in funding through the federal HOME program to assist eligible renters impacted by the Aug. 10 derecho. Iowans who resided in Benton, Boone, Cedar, Clinton, Jasper, Linn, Marshall, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Story or Tama county at the time of the natural disaster may be eligible for rental assistance. 
Anawim Housing, the City of Cedar Rapids and the Eastern Iowa Housing Corporation were each awarded $364,000 to provide rental assistance to eligible renters who were impacted by the derecho. Renters in need of assistance are encouraged to contact one of these agencies to apply.   
“Iowa will continue to be a partner for our communities who are working so hard to rebuild and come back stronger than before,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds in a release. “Today’s announcement will provide direct assistance to many Iowans struggling to pay their rent because of this summer’s derecho. The state of Iowa is committed to full recovery no matter how long it takes.” 
Eligible renters must have resided in one of the 12 counties approved for Individual Assistance by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at the time of the natural disaster and must have a household income of at or below 80% of the area median income. 

The Iowa Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention program also remains open for applications through Dec. 4 to assist eligible renters and homeowners in any area of the state who have been economically impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency. More information is available at 
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Short Term Event Planner
Nov. 12
Jump Start Your Journey Toward Industry 4.0, by Iowa State University’s Center for Industrial Research & Services (CIRAS), 10-11:30 a.m., online. Learn why Industry 4.0 is important and how a CIRAS assessment tool can help guide you toward the future. Free. To register, visit
Nov. 13
TechBrew AM, by Technology Association of Iowa, 8 a.m., online. Featuring Alex Olson, executive vice president of Kingland Systems. Free. To register, visit

Nov. 17
2020 Iowa High School Tech Summit, by the Technology Association of Iowa, 9 a.m.-noon, online. Students can explore technology careers and companies across Iowa. A panel of IT professionals will give presentations that reflect on their college internship experiences and career paths. Free. To register, visit
Nov. 18 
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Cedar Rapids, 8:30 a.m., online. Join for community connections and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit
1 Million Cups, by 1MC Iowa City, 9 a.m., online. Join for community connections and presentations by entrepreneurs, established companies, experts and more. Free. For more information, visit

Nov. 19
Do’s, Dont’s and How To’s of Employment Background Checks, by Cedar Rapids Area Economic Alliance, 8-9:15 a.m., online. Learn what is provided in a background check and what information can be used in an employment decision. Free. To register, visit

Kwik Star Ribbon Cutting, by Marion Chamber of Commerce, 11 a.m., Kwik Star, 962 62nd St., Marion. Kwik Star will celebrate the grand opening of its new gas station in Marion. Free. For more information, visit

Innovation Roundtable, by the Technology Association of Iowa, 2 p.m., online. TAI members can discuss leading industry topics, such as blockchain and artificial intelligence. Free. For more information, visit
Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9 
Five years after starting the downtown “Quiet Zone” project, the city of Cedar Rapids said it has a better idea of when it might be complete. The project was intended to stop trains from sounding its sirens in the downtown area.
“These trains are terrible,” Patti Dunleavy said. “At night, they just don’t know how to do one or two beeps.” “I live on the top floor, and it’s so loud you can’t hear inside,” Greg Williams said. “I could have my TV up and you can’t hear the TV.” Patti Dunleavy and Greg Williams live at the Geneva Tower, a block from the tracks. They hear whistles at least seven times a day. “I’ve been on the phone with people and when the train comes by I have to say hold on because I can’t hear anything,” Williams said. City leaders have been working to quiet them down for the last five years, setting up arms, lights and, signs as part of a quiet zone. These were the first steps of a three-phase project. John Witt, the traffic engineering program manager for the city, said they have a better timeline. Each phase should take about a year to complete with an estimated deadline of 2024. Read the full story here.

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continued to reach record highs in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported a new high of 1,190 COVID-19 hospitalizations. Over the last 24 hours a record 230 patients were admitted to the hospital, where 210 are in the ICU and 101 are on ventilators. The state also reported an additional 4,764 cases and 26 COVID-19 related deaths over the last 24 hours. As of 10:30 a.m. today, the state’s data showed a total of 166,021 COVID-19 cases and a total of 1,898 COVID-19 related deaths since the pandemic began. The latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force, obtained by ABC, shows Iowa in the red zone for cases and for test positivity. Iowa ranks the 4th highest state in the country for new cases per 100,000 people. The report said 96% of the counties in Iowa have high levels of community transmission. It identified Polk, Linn and Scott counties as the three counties in the state with the highest number of cases over the last three weeks. It also showed more than 40% of nursing homes in Iowa have COVID-positive staff. Read the full story here.

These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Colder, more seasonable air has settled in. Highs now remain in the 40s and 50s through the middle of next week with lows dropping into the 20s and 30s. High pressure keeps us quiet during the next several days. Rainfall chances increase again Saturday which could give us a wet start to the weekend.