on Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Located on prime development space at the corner of First and Main Streets, the “Old Chamber Building” was going to be demolished or needed to be relocated to make way for a new 110-room Hampton Inn. Community Main Street (CMS) worked with Western Home Communities (property owner), the City of Cedar Falls, River Place Properties, Hawkeye Hotels, Cedar Falls Utilities, Aylsworth House Movers, AHTS Architects and Koch Construction to relocate and reuse the building.
Western Home Communities offered to donate the building to CMS in September 2017, but there were many hurdles to overcome prior to accepting the donation. A new location needed to be identified and approved by Planning and Zoning and City Council. Financial estimates for the relocation and building project would need to determined and fall under the $300,000 budget established by the board of directors. In addition, the timing of the move would need to fit into the levee reconstruction and Hampton Hotel site preparation schedules. It was also determined it would be necessary for CMS to have adequate storage for items stored throughout downtown to come under one roof, including the gator used to water flowers, to make the project worthwhile.
An underutilized portion of the River Place property was identified as a suitable location and with city support and in exchange for future payments due to CMS, River Place Properties split off the parcel necessary and provided a home for the building. AHTS drew up the plans, adding a basement and garage. CMS Facilities Coordinator Larry Wessels worked with Aylsworth, the city, Cedar Falls Utilities and Hawkeye Hotels to develop a relocation plan and schedule. Bids were secured for construction at the new site and Koch Construction was selected based on their willingness to work within the established budget and to allow volunteers to assist on the project.
Removal of the existing brick was required to move the building and new brick was chosen to compliment the nearby historic Viking Pump. Due to weather and a high water table, the site was not ready on moving day. City staff saved the day by allowing the building to be staged on adjacent city property. Once it was dried out, the basement was poured as well as exterior stairs for easy access to storage. Led by Larry Wessels and Koch Construction, interior work was done by CMS volunteers, staff and others. With the exception of adding an interior stairwell, new paint and flooring, the interior of the building remained unchanged.
The project created a positive outcome for the district. The building was saved from demolition and eliminated several tons of debris from the landfill, it created a permanent home for CMS in a location supporting district expansion and opened a second story location on Main Street for a new tenant. Nine new trees and bushes were planted, adding beautification to the district. In addition, site improvements added trailhead access to our 100-mile looped trail system, including access to public restrooms and tourist information during office hours.
Stop by and visit the new Community Main Street office if you have not already! Our new location is at 310 East 4th Street down the street from Viking Pump.