New "College Commons" business, apartment complex aims to revitalize CR College District

Developers say the building will be completed July 2019. (CBS2/FOX28)

The Cedar Rapids College District continues pushing for new ways to improve safety for students and residents about a decade after the effort began.

"There was grave concern of safety and security twelve years ago," said Phil Wasta, the president of the College District. "It was just not on the right trajectory."

Now, it's a different story. Reports from the Cedar Rapids Police Department show a significant decrease in crime over the past eight years, from 523 in 2010, down to 188 last year.

On Wednesday, developers and City officials broke ground on a new development near Coe College on 1st Avenue, dubbed the College Commons.

"It's needed to help stabilize and revitalize this part of the neighborhood," said Dale Todd, Cedar Rapids City Council member.

The College Commons is an 18-unit apartment complex with a Jimmy John's, Scooter's Coffee, H&R Block, and laundromat. Developer Brent Votroubek of H&V Development says they plan to market the apartments to students at Coe College.

Taylor Wilgenbusch, a junior at Coe College, says the district needs a place like this.

"It needs something to just get going and make it more exciting to be here at Coe and be around the community at Coe," said Wilgenbusch.

By replacing an old tobacco store and dilapidated properties with other options, some say the safety will only continue to improve.

"It isn't another liquor store," said Wasta. "Which we just don't need in that area."

Each two-bedroom apartment rental will cost about $1,300 per month, according to the Votroubeks. They aim to complete the construction by July 2019.

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