NewBo: Your New Home?

It’s the story of a remarkable comeback. Deluged by more than 8 feet of water in most buildings during the 2008 flood, the city of Cedar Rapids sustained more than $7 billion in damage and faced a long, arduous rebuilding effort. Its recovery was helped in no small part by the NewBo District’s renaissance. In less than a decade, property values in the neighborhood have grown nearly 50% and its popularity as a community destination shows no signs of slowing. This ever-evolving district is on the move – and it could be your business’s new home.

What is NewBo?
NewBo is short for “New Bohemia,” a nod to the city’s rich Czech and Slovak heritage that is also echoed in the nearby Czech Village, which shares a Main Street District with NewBo. The thriving neighborhood covers about 40 square blocks within the boundaries of Eighth Avenue SE, the Cedar River, the end of Ninth Street SE, and the 15th Avenue SE railroad tracks. At the center of it all sits NewBo City Market, a dynamic year-round farmer’s market that simultaneously serves as a gathering place for locals, an incubator for small businesses, and a destination for art, shopping, and dining.

The Czech Village and New Bohemia neighborhoods have been around since 1975 and 2000, respectively, but were mired in economic decline for years before the record floods in 2008 nearly destroyed them both. In the aftermath of the flood, entrepreneurs and residents saw an opportunity for renewal, forming the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District in May 2009 to revive the historic area.

2008: Surviving and Thriving
Both the Czech Village and NewBo areas were badly hit by the historic 2008 flood, with virtually all of the businesses and residences in the river-adjacent area sustaining major damage. Many owners sold their damaged properties, but those who remained committed to restoring the historic district bit by bit, turning damaged buildings into now-popular venues. Several key businesses and organizations in the Main Street District were actually some of the first in the city to rebuild and reopen.

That spirit has helped property values in the neighborhood grow by nearly 50% in the nine years since the flood, rising from $29 million in January 2008 (before the flood) to $46 million as of January 2016. The district now serves as the home of everything from shops selling artisan sausage and soap to a brewery and photography studios. Meanwhile, the district is making steady progress on implementing a strategic revitalization plan to “build back better,” the motto that perfectly encapsulates the efforts of the last nine years.

Why Your Business Belongs in NewBo
The neighborhood’s reputation as a trendy arts and culture destination brings in a steady stream of young professionals, families, and tourists looking for unique offerings and meals they can’t find anywhere else. And you won’t have to go it alone; the Main Street District offers loans, building improvement grants, market analysis, project design assistance, and more to help your business thrive in the area. Real estate options in the area include several charming vintage buildings that fit the area’s village-like aesthetic, so your company looks at home in the neighborhood as soon as move-in day.

Ready to give it a shot? Join the NewBo community and watch your business grow! For commercial real estate opportunities in the NewBo area, please contact Craig Byers at 319-360-7017.