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Tag Archives: technology

5 on Friday: Fuel for Thought November 3, 2017

by Steve Dust, CEO, Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber

Fuel for Thought What's Steve Dust Reading this Week? November 3, 2017

 

 

 

 

 

One: Cedar Valley in Top 100 Places to Start a Biz

The website How to Start an LLC has ranked U.S. metros where it’s easiest to start a business, according to their matrix. The criteria, plus the entire list, is available at this link.

Top Cities to Start a Business, How to Start an LLC, 2017

Two: Your Comment Needed — Future Ready Iowa

I recently linked the Future Ready Iowa Alliance board’s website in this space. The recommendations to achieve 70 percent of the Iowa workforce holding post-secondary credentials are listed there. Your comments are needed. Are the goals on the right track?

Comment on the page at this link: Future Ready Iowa Alliance Final Recommendations

Three: Iowa’s Leading Indicators

The Iowa Department of Revenue publishes a monthly report. Spoiler alert for September: Industrials are good, Ag, not so good.

Iowa Leading Indicators Index September 2017 Report, Iowa Department of Revenue, September 2017

Four: Which Cities Are Attracting Tech Talent?

We’re learning how to attract talented people, as well as businesses to the Cedar Valley. This is an article that features some attributes of (much larger) places where tech-specific talent is willing to go. It’s a slide show, see button at top of web site.

5 U.S. Cities Luring Tech Talent Away From Silicon Valley, Entrepreneur, October 31, 2017

Five: What is a Smart City?

And in the vein of “what does it take,” the talent equation fundamentally depends on quality of place. This is a long think piece by someone paid to think about how to connect a complex system – a city – to meaningful data and information. The role of data, ignored as a frill by many, is essential to the city’s ability to thrive as a service deliverer and keeper of place. For those who volunteer countless hours over many years to improve their cities, and those in city government in any way, this is a good article to crunch through.

The Search for a Theory of Cities, Colin Harrison, Meeting of the Minds, November 2, 2017

TechWorks Campus Announces the Launch of the Green@TechWorks


$40M hotel and training center construction set to begin with Tech2 building sale to developer.

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) – The TechWorks Campus, announces the sale of the Tech2 building to Financial District Properties (FDP) and the start of construction of the highly anticipated Green@TechWorks mixed-use project.

Tech2, an 88 year old former John Deere tractor manufacturing building, is the starting point of the Green@TechWorks re-development project. The 180,000 square foot, six-story building will house a 191-room Courtyard by Marriott hotel; third-party restaurant; John Deere Regional Training Center and conference center. The Green is a principal feature of the overall $74M TechWorks Campus river-front re-development.

“It is gratifying to see The Green @ TechWorks become reality. The project will provide our Campus tenants with tremendous amenities just steps from their operations,” said Steve Dust, CEO of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber and President of the TechWorks Campus. “Combined with the industrial 3D printing and design center, labs and shop in Tech 1, and the fantastic new John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, the opportunities for the TechWorks building sites and the marina become clear. These new operations compliment the downtown Waterloo revitalization and anchors new Cedar Valley developments along the river from Waverly through Cedar Falls to Waterloo. This is a very exciting time in the Cedar Valley.”

Since The Green@TechWorks project was announced in 2012, FDP along with TechWorks has moved forward with steady determination, pursuing federal, state, and local re-development financing, and brokering agreements between the developer, the City of Waterloo, and others.

FDP Managing Principal Rodney Blackwell has significant experience with downtown real estate redevelopment and is recognized for successfully assembling complex financing structures for downtown projects. Earlier FDP projects include the Mississippi Plaza Center in downtown Davenport, IA, and the North American headquarters for KONE Corp. in Moline, IL. FDP is currently developing Machinery Row, a mixed use re-development area in downtown Racine, Wisconsin. FDP also owns the river-front building occupied primarily by the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier at 100 East Fourth.

“Despite the inevitable bumps in the road and some unexpected big challenges; creativity, commitment, and a lot of patience tied all the pieces of the financing puzzle together,” says Blackwell. “We are eager to start construction and look forward to delivering a venue that will compliment the Campus and delight the community.”

Helping to finance the project is $12 million from the Waterloo Reinvestment District.

A portion of the TechWorks Campus has also become the first designated Iowa Reinvestment District (IRD). The District, established by The City of Waterloo will provide up to $12M in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues generated within the district for capital projects. $8M will be used to pay off bonds financing The Green@TechWorks. $3M will go to the development of the Tech1 building, with $1M boosting a proposed marina development.

The projected economic impact of the District is significant. Up to 562 new permanent jobs will be created to accommodate the anticipated 275,000 annual visitors to the Campus. Visitors are expected to generate $2.9M in annual food, retail and other sales generated on Campus or in the vicinity.

Construction set to begin on The Green@TechWorks.

Interior pre-construction will begin in March with mobilization expected in mid-April. The target opening date for the project is May 2017. The Davenport office of contractor Ryan Companies US, Inc. has been named to complete the project. Ryan Companies’ Greg Lundgren, Midwest President is senior Project Executive Officer.

An estimated 130 people will be employed during the one year construction period. FDP is committed to use local trades and subcontractors to the greatest extent possible. Only when faced with a skill, schedule, or major price constraint outside trades would be sought, according to developer Blackwell.

Amenities for the business class traveler.

Business travelers to the Campus will enjoy the amenities of the 191-room Courtyard hotel, the newest Marriott property in the market. The hotel will be operated by Hospitality Specialists Inc. of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Hospitality Specialists Inc. has been operating hotels for over 30 years with properties in Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Florida.

The John Deere Regional Training Center will be constructed on the 2nd floor to address a range of skills upgrades for John Deere employees across its operations.

Consolidated Restaurant Operations, Inc. (CRO) of Dallas will expand its footprint to Iowa for the first time with a property in the Tech 2 building. CRO operates more than 91 full-service and 24 franchise restaurants in 17 states and globally. CRO manages brands ranging from the traditional steak house to Tex-Mex. The Green’s restaurant will be a new concept for CRO, consistent with Campus clienteles’ requirements.

$74.1 million TechWorks Campus mixed-use development offers unique opportunities.

The TechWorks Campus site and buildings, donated by John Deere to TechWorks in 2006 is located at the gateway to Downtown Waterloo at Highway 218 and West Commercial Street. The 30 acre TechWorks Campus is currently home to University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Additive Manufacturing Center and Design Lab, Hawkeye Community College Design Lab, the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub, John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, and Cedar Valley Makerspace. TechWorks Campus is just steps to the Cedar Valley Recreation Trails, entertainment & museum districts, and a variety of Riverloop District amenities.

Four sites are available on the campus for light industrial, research and development, and retail. 100,000 sf remains in the six-floor Tech 1 building for build-to-suit space ideal for light manufacturing and R&D tenants. Six laboratories are also available. Plans for a marina and a riverfront restaurant along the Cedar River are part of the overall $74.1 million Campus development plan.

“Identifying and attracting the right tenant and development is the next priority for TechWorks,” says Cary Darrah, Vice President and General Manager of TechWorks Campus. “My job now is to work with the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber development team to help companies understand the tremendous value of locating on the TechWorks Campus. With access to University research and training, a wealth of resources, opportunities to make the right connections and create synergies, the amenities of The Green right outside their door, the Campus location shouldn’t be hard to sell.”

TechWorks Campus is a private non-profit corporation and subsidiary of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber. More information can be found at www.techworkscampus.com or by contacting Steve Dust, President of TechWorks Campus by email sdust@cedarvalleyalliance.com, Cary Darrah, Vice President and General Manager at cdarrah@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or Wes James Facilities Manager at wjames@cedarvalleyalliance.com, or by calling (319)232-1156.

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TechWorks Bird’s Eye – Looking West (12.2.14) 24×36

Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub at TechWorks of First Projects to Receive Iowa’s New Strategic Infrastructure Funding – $2.7 Million for additional 3D Printers UNI Metal Casting Center

(Cedar Valley of Iowa) The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub (IAMNH), at the TechWorks Campus in Waterloo, is one of the first projects in the state to be awarded funds through Iowa’s new Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF). The funding was approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Board at their June meeting. The project, Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub – Phase I, Additive Manufacturing Center, will receive $2.7 million to fund additional 3D printers for the UNI Metal Casting Center, building improvements, and a design center to be operated by Hawkeye Community College.

“With this financial support from the IEDA and Iowa Innovation Council, UNI is excited and anxious to move forward with creating a full-service additive manufacturing center to meet the innovation and technology needs of Iowa companies,” says Randy Pilkington, Executive Director of UNI’s Business and Community Services. “Thanks to support from IEDA, UNI is building on the momentum of the past 18 months of 3D printing success to create a full-service additive manufacturing center for Iowa manufacturers. Expansion into plastics, metals and ceramics will create one of the best equipped 3D printing facilities in North America.”

The Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub application for Strategic Infrastructure Fund (SIF) was completed by TechWorks staff and a team including UNI’s Randy Pilkington and Metal Casting Center Director Jerry Thiel; Hawkeye Community College President Linda Allen, and Vice President of Academic Affairs Jane Bradley; and TechWorks board chair Tim Hurley. The team worked with the State of Iowa and the Iowa Innovation Council’s Advanced Manufacturing Workgroup to finalize the application.

The IEDA funding will help to move Iowa to the forefront of technology in additive manufacturing and establish a premier center for support of its manufacturing base.  This funding is a critical step in advancing the state’s technology base and providing a central location for technology advancement.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber Business Education Series

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is hosting three seminars for business professionals during the month of May. The Business Education Series is a local link to information on timely issues that influence the business bottom line. May seminars will focus on simple office changes that save money and improve the work environment, data security to mitigate exposure, and employee wellness. These seminars will give attendees instant access to “do it now” business growth tools.  Each program will feature experts and a question and answer period.

The May 13 session “Solutions That Improve Your Business Environment Inside & Out” will be presented by Pete Olsen, Energy Services Manager at Cedar Falls Utilities, Dan Channer, Partner at StruXture Architects. The focus will be on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and water conservation. Additionally, Ellen Woods, Director of Sales at Integrated Interior Solutions Group Kirk Gross Company, will address creating an environment and culture in which employees can thrive.

The May 20 session on “Data Security” will be presented by Chris Fereday, President of PDCM Insurance, and Dave Wyant, Account Manager of Sales at Networking Solutions. They will present information to help area business leaders understand how to navigate the complexity of privacy/cyber liability exposure and provide valuable insight about how to mitigate exposures.

On May 27 the topic will be “Business Sense of Wellness.” Liz DeJoode, Wellness Consultant at PDCM Insurance, will speak on their approach to help employers win the battles against increasing healthcare costs. Additionally, learn from UnityPoint/Allen Hospital, Veridian Credit Union and Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare on how they implement wellness programs on site.

Each seminar will take place at the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center in downtown Waterloo, IA, from 7:30-9:00 AM.  The cost is $25 per seminar for Alliance & Chamber investors and $45 per seminar for non-investors and includes breakfast. Please register one week in advance of each seminar by calling (319) 232-1156 or email bwubenna@cedarvalleyalliance.com.

The premier sponsor is PDCM Insurance and the gold sponsors are Around the Corner Productions and First National Bank.

The mission of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is to increase economic vitality and wealth by leading collaborative economic and community development. The Business Education Series is one of many initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber designed to sustain and strengthen businesses and organizations in the Cedar Valley Region of Iowa. Details about the many programs and initiatives of the Alliance & Chamber can be found at www.cedarvalleyalliance.com or by calling Steve Dust, CEO at (319) 232-1156.

 

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Governor, IPEP release findings of 2014 Battelle Report, a new economic development roadmap for Iowa

Governor Terry Branstad joined representatives from the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress (IPEP) — the state’s CEO-level, industry-led advisory board co-chaired by the Governor and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds – to release the findings of the 2014 Battelle Report: Iowa’s Re-envisioned Economic Development Roadmap. The Battelle Technology Partnership Practice was commissioned by IPEP and the Iowa Business Council to conduct this comprehensive analysis.

Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO, Steven Dust, was a member of the task force and Past Board Chair, Tom Penaluna, serves on the IPEP Board of Directors. Randy Pilkington and Drew Conrad of the University of Northern Iowa Business and Community Services provided data support.

“Thanks to the IPEP board and the Iowa Business Council, we now have a roadmap for the future,” said Governor Branstad. “These business leaders – in addition to their day jobs of running Iowa’s top businesses – have given of their time and resources to make sure Iowa has a focused plan to achieve success. We are grateful for their leadership.”

Battelle is the world’s largest nonprofit independent research and development organization. The Technology Partnership Practice (TPP) assists local, state, and regional organizations, universities, nonprofit technology organizations, and others in designing, implementing, and assessing technology-based economic development programs. Over the past 18 months, researchers from Battelle have been working with the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) and regional economic development organizations around the state to conduct the study. The comprehensive report reviews Iowa’s industry drivers and potential growth opportunities. It also looks at how the state has fared in advancing innovation, job attraction and retention since the last roadmap was developed in 2004-2005.

“IPEP is charged with advising the state on economic trends that will affect Iowa’s economy and to create a long-term strategy to keep Iowa ahead of the pack,” said Bill Fehrman, president and CEO of MidAmerican Energy and IPEP board member. “With a third-party analysis of the state’s resources, assets and existing gaps, IPEP now has both the qualitative and quantitative foundation on which to base our strategy development. Further, the Battelle Report gives us a call-to-action that will help our elected officials, policymakers, economic developers and business leaders know what strategic priorities we must embrace if we are to achieve economic success over the next decade.”

The executive summary and full report can be downloaded at iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/battelle. Some key findings identified in the report are below:

The Battelle Report takes a look at Iowa’s current position, as compared to the nation and benchmarked states. Due in part to the focused work over the past several years, Iowa is faring well. Some identified successes include:

  • Restructuring of IEDA and streamlining of funding programs
  • Creating better private/public partnerships
  • Better collaboration of stakeholders
  • Improved marketing of Iowa and its assets

Iowa has made substantial economic progress over the last decade, resulting in positive trends in Iowa’s top-line measures of success:

  • Productivity is high — As of 2013, Iowa’s economic output, in real, inflation-adjusted terms, was 5.9% higher than the pre-recession levels of 2007, outpacing the national growth of 4.7% during the same period.
  • Job growth and workforce are strong — Iowa outperformed the nation in the growth of both middle and high-skilled jobs. At the same time, the number of low-skill jobs has actually declined as both employers and employees transition to a more skilled workforce.
  • Wages are rising — Iowa substantially outpaced national gains in private sector average wages.  This is consistent with the rising workforce skill levels in Iowa and an increase in the number of higher quality jobs.
  • Per capita income is growing — While record farm incomes have driven a substantial increase in per capita income during the last decade, from 2007 to 2013, Iowa’s nonfarm personal income also grew 20%, eclipsing national growth of 14% over the same period.

The Battelle Report makes recommendations for strategic priorities that Iowa must adopt to competitively position the state in a global economy. Recommendations (Strategic Priorities) include:

  • Build on the competitiveness and growth of Iowa’s industry clusters through innovation, retention and attraction.
  • Generate and attract skilled workforce in demand by Iowa’s businesses.
  • Accelerate the development of Iowa’s emerging entrepreneurial eco-system.
  • Advance Iowa’s physical infrastructure and regional development capacities to realize Iowa’s economic potential.

“This report is such a valuable resource for the IEDA, economic developers and policymakers around our state,” commented Debi Durham, director of the IEDA. “It truly is a data-driven look at where we are at, while at the same time, it gives a clear picture of what we could achieve with the right kind of resources focused on targeted priorities.”

The Battelle study was funded through support from private-sector entities at a cost of approximately $400,000.

CEDAR FALLS NAMED 2014 GOOGLE eCITY for IOWA

On October 15, Cedar Falls was named the 2014 eCity of Iowa.  The eCity Awards recognize the strongest online business community in each state – the digital capitals of America. These cities’ businesses are embracing the web to find new customers, connect with existing clients and fuel their local economies. Cedar Falls joins the ranks of America’s leading cities in the digital economy.  Google  recognized the city’s innovative businesses by holding a community celebration with Sen. Chuck Grassley, Mayor Jon Crews and other community representatives on Wednesday, on Main St. in Cedar Falls.

Senator Grassley presented the award to Mayor Crews, who credited the citizens of Cedar Falls for passing the community broadband referendum 20 years ago this month, and credited CFU will building and continuously updating the community’s broadband infrastructure.

Local partners include:

  • City of Cedar Falls
  • Cedar Falls Utilities
  • Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber
  • Business and Community Services at UNI
  • Small Business Development Center at UNI

 

 

 

Alliance & Chamber Investors/Leaders Expand Market Reach with Recent Acquisition & Merger

ME&V has announced it is merging with Cedar Rapids advertising agency Henry Russell Bruce (HRB) as of April 1. The new organization’s name is “AMPERAGE.” The branding line for the new entity is “Move the Needle.”

The merger of two of Iowa’s top agencies will broaden the scope of services and expand areas of expertise. Founding partner and former Alliance & Chamber board member Dee Vandeventer will retire as partner, but will remain on staff working full-time in the area she is most passionate about—fundraising. ME&V partner Brian Earnest will serve as president of the new company.

“We’ll be hiring,” said Earnest in a Corridor Business Journal interview. “We are positioned for growth and we plan to merge with two more agencies in order to accelerate growth and enhance our capabilities.”

Local start up, Banno, a developer of banking technology, has been acquired by Jack Henry & Associates (OTC: JKHY). According to JKHY, The deal follows a July 2013 partnership in which Jack Henry’s ProfitStars division sold Banno’s Grip mobile application under the name Andiamo, according to the release. The deal brings another S&P 500 operation to the Cedar Valley.

Banno Chief Executive and Alliance & Chamber board member Wade Arnold, says operations and management teams will continue working out of the company’s locations in Cedar Falls and Des Moines.

Founded in 2008, Banno serves more than 375 financial institutions. The company’s other core services include a targeted online advertising platform and a responsive-website design and development tool. It was named one of American Banker‘s “Top 10 Tech Companies to Watch for 2012.”

 

These two announcements are excellent examples of the deepth and breadth of Cedar Valley startup  and entrepreneurial community.

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Jack Henry Acquires Bank Tech Startup Banno

by Sarah Todd, AmericanBanker.com

MAR 4, 2014 1:48pm

The banking software provider Jack Henry & Associates (JKHY) has acquired the banking technology startup Banno.

Banno’s operations and management teams will continue working out of the company’s locations in Cedar Falls and Des Moines, Iowa, the companies said in a joint press release Tuesday. The price of the deal was not disclosed.

The deal follows a July 2013 partnership in which Jack Henry’s ProfitStars division sold Banno’s Grip mobile application under the name Andiamo, according to the release. The app helps bank customers comparison-shop and decide whether to make purchases.

“Banno’s reputation for innovative solutions is apparent in the industry, but it became more visible to us when we formed our business partnership and developed our Andiamo solution,” ProfitStars president David Foss said in the release. “We know firsthand that Banno is committed to delivering the most high-demand technology coupled with unmatched support and service, which are two areas of business that we place a high value on here at Jack Henry.”

Founded in 2008, Banno serves more than 375 financial institutions. The company’s other core services include a targeted online advertising platform and a responsive-website design and development tool. It was named one of American Banker‘s “Top 10 Tech Companies to Watch for 2012.”

“This acquisition is a tremendous opportunity for Banno to leverage Jack Henry’s proven technologies,” Banno Chief Executive Wade Arnold said in the release.

Cedar Falls Schools Making the World Their Classroom

Cedar Falls Schools Making the World Their Classroom

CEDAR FALLS, IA  The countdown is on for launching a project to expand classroom learning across town and across the globe for K-12 students at the Cedar Falls Community Schools.

Beginning in January, the schools’ digital learning initiative will put web-connected notebook computers in the hands of every high school student, opening up access to learning tools and experiences outside the classroom walls. For grades 3-6, one notebook will be available for every two students, and pre-K through grade 2 students will share iPads on a three-to-one basis. Notebooks will be distributed to all  junior high students at the beginning of the 2014 fall semester.

Plans to take digital learning tools to the next level as a “one-to-one” school have been in the works for about two years. Cedar Falls teachers, administrators, technical staff, school board members and parents have all been part of the planning effort through the District Technology Committee.

“Truly, the most important thing is that we aren’t doing this for the sake of having more technology in the classroom,” said Dr. Andy Pattee, Superintendent of Schools. “We are undertaking this very large initiative to help students learn and showcase their learning at greater levels, by providing much more access to tools for that than we’ve had in the past.”

“A lot of work by many, many people has been done over the past couple of years to be sure that we’re doing this the right way, focused on student learning and student achievement, with all the professional development behind it for our staff to insure that it’s implemented with fidelity in the classroom,” Pattee said.

At each school building, a team of teachers is offering peer training to help everyone get familiar with the new tools so they can be used effectively for better student outcomes.

The school’s technology staff have worked over the past three years to improve the district’s internal network and beef up wireless access points at every building to get ready for increased web traffic during the school day.

 

“Up to now, a lot of work has been done behind the scenes,” said district Information and Technology Services Supervisor Shane Paige. “In January we’ll start rolling out Chromebooks for every student at the high school, and within 10 months our integration will be complete at every building throughout the district.”

Paige explained that the Chromebook laptops the District is deploying are easily interchangeable between students. That’s because software applications and document storage are “in the cloud” and tied to the student’s unique user identity, rather than on the hardware.

A key piece of preparation is happening this week, as the Cedar Falls School District switches its primary internet connection to gigabit service from Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU).

“Early in the planning, we knew that if we were going to get the benefits of a cloud-based system, we had to have a rock-solid internet connection,” Paige said. “That’s really why we’re making the move to CFU, for the reliability and the local support that we can call on if we need it.”

The school system operates its wide area network over fiber optic cable that CFU installed several years ago at no cost to the district. The schools will maintain a back-up internet connection through the Iowa Communications Network, or ICN.

“Serving the schools in this way is a perfect example of why we upgraded our entire system to fiber-to-the-premises,” said CFU Network Manager Rob Houlihan. “It’s meant to be a community asset that supports innovation in business, in education and in local government in Cedar Falls.”

Earlier this year CFU completed a city-wide upgrade of its communications network, bringing a fiber optic connection to every home and business in Cedar Falls. In May, CFU added service plans at one gigabit per second to its full range of internet products for home and business users.

How will connecting students to the world change learning outcomes?

“Really the possibilities are endless when you focus on student learning and enable that with technology,” says Pattee. “The world is shrinking, and we all know that. Now, with technology we can open it up for collaboration that happens across town or across the world, and give students a broader range of classroom learning experiences that can happen instantaneously and seamlessly. That’s exciting for our teachers and our students.”

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TechWorks proponents forge ahead

September 30, 2013 12:00 pm Editorial – Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier

 

That’s why proponents of the Cedar Valley TechWorks should not lose heart.

TechWorks, the agri-industrial research complex being developed on portions of John Deere’s former Westfield Avenue facilities, is now 10 years in the making. It was jointly proposed in 2003 by then-University of Northern Iowa president Robert Koob and Barry Shaffter, then general manager of Deere’s Waterloo operations.

Part of the project appears to have hit what proponents call a financial “speed bump.” An application for historic designation through the U.S. National Parks Service has been turned down. At stake is some $10 million in historic preservation tax credits toward the $50 million project.

Proponents are forging ahead.

Bryce Henderson, chief financial officer and chief operating officer with Davenport-based Financial District Properties, the project’s developer, said, “This decision was largely subjective, and we’re going back next week to present our case again,” he said last week.

Darn right. With all due respect to the Park Service, we don’t understand how preserving and enhancing a complex that was the industrial heart of Waterloo for most of the 20th century cannot have historic significance. We areapproaching the 100th anniversary of John Deere’s entry into Waterloo with the purchase of the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Co. in 1918,  which was located on that very spot.

Henderson said the project will continue, and that there are backup financing plans. “You never go into a redevelopment project like this without a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C and Plan D,” he said.

Developers have not given up on securing the historic designation for the Tech 2 building, which is scheduled to open in the winter of 2014 with a Radisson business-class hotel with a ground-floor restaurant, John Deere training facility, showroom and office space and a location for education programs of Hawkeye Community College.

“Part of our discussion was how to get started on the west end of the campus around the museum (Deere Tractor and Engine Museum, now under construction) and Tech 1 while we’re still putting all the pieces together for the Green project,” said Steve Dust, president and CEO of TechWorks. “It was important to understand that we continue to move ahead, even though this is a very important part of the project.”

We appreciate and applaud that undaunted approach. We would ask Park Service officials to consider the alternative. Longtime Cedar Valley residents have seen many industrial buildings fall victim to the wrecking ball, which subsequently resulted in aesthetic eyesores and environmental cleanup headaches.

The TechWorks project is a responsible, systematic re-use of a major industrial site in this city, preserving the site’s heritage with a look to future technologies. That’s a plan worth pursuing, and fighting for.

 

 

Be part of something greater - The Cedar Valley of Iowa

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a regional economic community development corporation working to increase economic vitality and wealth in the Waterloo / Cedar Falls area and surrounding economic region. The Alliance & Chamber has approximately 800 members that represents over 40,000 employees