The Watts Group of Coralville has earned preliminary approval in Cedar Rapids to build a new residential development on a site near Brucemore mansion. 1953 First Ave. SE is the former location of the First Avenue Professional Building which was torn down in 2020.

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According to the Corridor Business Journal, the Watts Group plans a $22.2 million, 48-unit complex on that site.

Watts Group

The development, a first reading for which was approved at a Tuesday night city council meeting, would feature enclosed underground parking, and a 6,000-foot "amenity area" including a pool, workout facility, and fire pit.

Watts Group
Watts Group

The development would actually be two separate 24-unit buildings connected by the amenity area, according to Cedar Rapids economic development manager Caleb Mason to the city council Tuesday night. One further advantage to this development, according to two city council members is that it "blends in" to the neighborhood, which is mostly businesses that have an appearance of housing. Councilmember Ann Poe said:

I like the scale, I like the pool, I like the connectivity between the two buildings. I like how closely it faces First Avenue. I love the parking in the rear, and that it’s going to give the neighbors some buffering. I think this is appropriate for what we’re looking for along First Avenue.

Ashley Vanorny called it a "great use of space". Near this area, Kwik Star was proposing a new store that was rejected in part because it didn't fit the context of the neighborhood. If it passes the second reading on October 26, and a potential third reading, construction on the Douglas on First residential development on March 22 and be completed in November 2024.

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