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CBJ Report: Move to The Fountains keeping Terex in Cedar Rapids

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Move to The Fountains keeping Terex in Cedar Rapids

Terex Corp. plans to move its Cedar Rapids engineering, sales and service office to The Fountains this spring from its longtime location in the 900 block of 17th Street NE.

Terex will occupy about one-third of the ground floor space in a newly completed 50,000-square-foot office building in The Fountains, according to Craig Byers of Pivot Real Estate.

"It will give them space in a Class A office building with lots of nearby services and amenities," Mr. Byers said. "They have employees coming from all over the Corridor, so being close to the Highway 100 and I-380 intersection will be an advantage."

The space is designed for about 40 employees, incorporating the growth needs of Terex over the next several years, Mr. Byers added. It also has a small R&D space. The office is the last remnant of what was once a large Cedar Rapids presence for the company that manufactures rock crushing and street paving equipment.

The Fountains was built with the help of tax increment financing (TIF) assistance from the city. Cedar Rapids City Council members considered a request in early 2016 to provide a second TIF incentive to help Ahmann Companies, developer of The Fountains, recruit Terex to the development. The request was for more than $500,000 in benefits to pay mainly for furnishings. It was supported by Mayor Ron Corbett because The Fountains was competing to land the Terex lease with space vacated by Berthel Fisher Companies on Tama Street in Marion, which had existing furnishings and a competitive lease rate.

The council voted 5-3 to take the first step toward negotiating that TIF incentive, but eventually abandoned the effort after encountering criticism from some council members, who said using TIF for depreciable assets would set a bad precedent, and from city leaders in Marion, who said they were offering no incentives.

"That request was not going to fly," explained Scott Olson, a Cedar Rapids City Council member who opposed the incentives.

Neither Terex nor The Fountains received TIF incentives in regards to the multi-year lease, according to Mr. Byers. He said Terex approached The Fountains, indicating it wanted space to relocate soon because its property had been sold to Mount Mercy University.

New app aims to get commercial truckers on the road

In the hopes of getting more drivers on the road more quickly, the Iowa Department of Transportation has unveiled a new prep app for those taking the commercial driver's license (CDL) test.

The free app is designed as an interactive study guide to help Iowans prepare for the written portion of the exam. It can also help seasoned drivers brush up on their skills or study for certification of new skills.

"Nationwide, we're facing a shortage of licensed commercial drivers," Gov. Kim Reynolds said in a release announcing the app. "These drivers are essential to the success of both Iowa's economy and the American economy. Every product we use, and every good our farmers and manufacturers export outside our state's borders, relies on a safe, well-trained commercial driver to get to its destination."

The Iowa DOT pursued development of the app in response to the shortage of drivers and after data analysis showed a large percentage of CDL applicants failed their written exam on the first attempt.

"Delivering safe mobility and being customer driven demanded a new approach," DOT Director Mark Lowe said in a statement. "Transforming the traditional written manual to an interactive, adult learning app helps our customers be successful the first time and helps us more quickly deliver safe, professional drivers to the job market and transportation industry."

The CDL app is available for mobile devices through Apple and Android app stores, as well as online.

UI's Venture School now accepting applications

The University of Iowa's Venture School is now accepting applications for its spring 2018 program, with a deadline of Feb. 6.

The program, produced by the UI's John Pappajohn Entreprenurial Center and offered statewide, emphasizes real-world entrepreneurship and innovation. Participants will gain marketing expertise and real-world knowledge and skills based on the National Science Foundation I-Corps curriculum, which is intended to help high-potential startups turn their ideas into reality.

The upcoming spring program will host locations in Iowa City, Des Moines, Dubuque, Sioux City and the Quad Cities. An online version of the program will also be offered to allow individuals across the state to participate in the program, regardless of their location.

The first team member to participate costs $299, with each additional team member costing an additional $99. Scholarship opportunities are available. For more information or to register, visit www.venture-school.com.


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