Cedar Falls develops historic downtown

In downtown Cedar Falls, several new buildings are going up in front of the river.

Cedar Falls Main Street’s development has remained pretty stagnant throughout the years but has recently come to fruition with the new hotel and apartments, but this development has caused some debate, especially the decision to build the new hotel.

Some citizens voiced their concerns at the city council meeting, but the vote went through anyways with the votes 6-0. Those people were concerned the look of the hotel won’t go with the historic downtown. Council member Mark Miller asked if the project could be tabled when he said, “I don’t want to see this project go away in any way, shape or form because I think it is critical for downtown. It’s eight years, 10 years in the making, but the ‘turret’ is throwing me off up top, and I’ve heard that from some people. I think we can do more.” 

But council member Tom Blanford said, “I think this building, even as it is, is a significant improvement over what’s there currently. I understand we can’t make something look 150 years old, building it today.” 

The developers of the hotel did attempt to mimic the historic look, but the council members weren’t satisfied, so they returned to the more modern style since they were already over budget at $10 million. Om Patel, the director of development for Hawkeye Hotels, said about the project after the meeting to continue development, “I think we’ve done our best job and really put our best foot forward in coming up with this design. We hope you’re able to see it through our eyes as well.” 

The construction is supposed to take about a year to complete.There’s also a $4.5 million residential-commercial development that is being proposed along West First Street between Washington and Clay streets downtown, which is supposed to take the place of the former Iowa Sports Supply that relocated to the industrial park. This project is meant to develop downtown further and bring more business to the downtown. 

The proposal is still subject to review by city staff and approval by the planning and zoning commission and city council. 

Developer Jim Sulentic said about the project, “We know Main Street and always wanted to do a project like this. We have the opportunity to transform First Street and to extend the heart of downtown.” 

Cedar Falls Community Main Street’s design committee already has reviewed the project and approved it.

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