ArtTech Village: Bridging History and the Future

An innovative new mixed-use complex in NewBo is bridging Cedar Rapids’ industrial past with its entrepreneurial future.

ArtTech Village, which will soon stand tall at 450 and 455 16th Avenue SE, is a planned three-sided building with four stories. The first floor of the $25 million structure will host 34,000 square feet of commercial space, with the remaining three floors featuring 120,000 square feet of residential.

The design draws inspiration from the plants and factories around the city, including visible exterior piping, a metal cylinder on one corner enclosing a stairway and elevator, a water tower on the roof and shipping containers repurposed into entrances. This industrial-style look is the perfect complement to a planned entrepreneurial twist – 24 short-term studio apartments for people participating in the Iowa Startup Accelerator, which sits directly northwest of ArtTech Village in the Geonetric building. Geonetric is also home to NewBoCo, the startup accelerator that can further help ArtTech residents and other creatives get their ideas off the ground.

“We always wanted to create the exception, the building that was going to drive people to think differently and venture to different places of the neighborhood,” said Dale Todd, Vice President of Development for the Hatch Development Group, in a recent interview with the Cedar Rapids Gazette. Todd characterized the development as a “game changer” for the NewBo district, an arts and culture hub that’s well suited to nurturing an innovative space like ArtTech.

Residents can also take advantage of a pair of coworking spaces and a fitness center, and the building will also hold 107 standard apartments, including 66 one-bedrooms, 14 two-bedrooms and three executive suites. A bike path will run through the building and an adjoining courtyard. The first floor is suitable for retail or office space that could easily become a shop or studio.

The short-term housing will give Cedar Rapids an edge when it comes to attracting talent, as startup founders may otherwise struggle to find a place to live for such a short amount of time. There’s nothing else like this live-work complex anywhere in Linn County, which further bolsters Cedar Rapids’ credentials as a city that truly cherishes innovation and entrepreneurship.

“It really does attract the younger, high-tech entrepreneur type and put them in an environment where they can learn faster, learn more and accelerate their ideas,” said Jack Hatch, Principal of Hatch Development Group, in the Cedar Rapids Gazette.

The project has already received funding from the Iowa Economic Development Authority and NewBo was nominated for the federal Opportunity Zones program, which gives investors a break on capital gains taxes in exchange for building in areas with lower incomes or higher poverty rates. These breaks and any future funding the developers are able to obtain will help defray the cost of the project, nurturing it in the same way ArtTech Village hopes to nurture tomorrow’s business leaders.