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Tag Archives: The Green@TechWorks

ALLIANCE & CHAMBER PREPARES TO MOVE TO TECHWORKS CAMPUS

Cedar Valley of Iowa – “It only makes sense that our offices are located in TechWorks”, emphasizes Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber CEO Steve Dust, “we are inseparable partners in Cedar Valley economic development, and TechWorks is attracting tenants that we want to be near.” Dust shows his enthusiasm when talking about the new offices under construction, and to be occupied by the organizations he leads. The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is moving their office to the second floor of the Tech 1 Building on the campus operated by the Alliance & Chamber subsidiary, TechWorks Campus.

The 6,000 square feet of space will be occupied by the professional staff of 15 full-time, part-time, and contracted team members. The organizations located there include the Alliance & Chamber and its subsidiaries TechWorks and Leader Valley Foundation, as well as affiliated Cedar Valley Manufacturers Network and Cedar Valley Innovation Network.

Occupying space in TechWorks makes a lot of sense from a number of angles, and supports the work of the regional development, business promotion, and civic leadership organization. The Alliance & Chamber moves to space they have been deeply involved in for over a decade. The new space is immediately above the growing UNI Additive Manufacturing Center and the Design Lab collaboratively managed by Hawkeye Community College and UNI. The Alliance & Chamber space is one floor below the Cedar Valley Makerspace and offices available. And it is immediately next door to the new mixed-use Green@TechWorks project, opening a Courtyard by Marriott, conference center, and themed restaurant during mid-year. John Deere will open its new training center in The Green during the same time frame.

The growth of the riverfront and US 63 corridor fits nicely in the decision to build in Tech 1. “A decade ago when TechWorks began its redevelopment work,” Dust said, “the Campus was in the middle of nothing. Now, it’s central to one of the most active development districts in the Midwest.” He continues, “in addition to everything happening and about to happen on-campus, we’re next to the new Grand Crossing mixed-use project on the former Grand Hotel site, down the street from the new SingleSpeed brewery and restaurant; near all the riverfront amenities and new housing. We’re also right next to the new Hawkeye Urban Campus building. There will be as much collaboration between Tech 1 building users and the Urban Campus as there will be between the Marriott and nearby Cedar Valley SportsPlex, in my view.” concludes Dust.

The new space itself is a fresh change for the Alliance & Chamber. It’s designed in an open style, with minimal enclosed offices and a maximum of collaboration spaces. “We toured a lot of office layouts in new and old structures,” says Alliance & Chamber Vice President of Operations & General Manager Sandi Sommerfelt, “and it gave us a lot of guidance on best practices.” The new space includes huddle spaces for 2 to 5 people to congregate and meeting rooms of various sizes. It also includes some quiet spaces. “Sometimes, people do need to have a minimum of noise and privacy. For those not assigned to an office, we have provided small rooms for crunch time concentration and communications, and small, confidential meetings”, continued Sommerfelt.

The space features a lot of large windows, a part of the historical manufacturing building structure. “We designed the walls in such a way to use the natural light to its maximum,” says Sommerfelt. The project designers also worked to maintain the feel of the John Deere production environment that extended just into the 21st Century in this building. Sealed concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and open ceilings in most locations provides not only a modern “loft” feel, but pays homage to its history. “We make things in the Cedar Valley, and it’s only natural that we’d celebrate that heritage in the place dedicated to economic growth and improving the business climate,” Dust adds.

“The move-in date has been set at April 24”, says Sommerfelt, who has been the Alliance & Chamber’s project manager. Dust notes, “Sandi has a done a terrific job. I asked her to take on a major project, one she’s not been involved with in the past. She jumped in, assembling the team, acquiring the financing and negotiating the lease.” And as construction began, she shared project management with TechWorks Vice President & General Manager Wes James, who has managed the construction and maintenance in the Tech 1 building since it opened. “His knowledge and experience in working with this construction team, and this building has been absolutely invaluable,” Sommerfelt adds.

The design of the space was led by StruXture Architects, and the general contractor is Cardinal Construction, who utilized Young Plumbing & Heating, Shaw Electric, Hawkeye Alarm & Signal, Budget Blinds of Waterloo, Lindgren Glass Products, and Blackhawk Automatic Sprinklers. The furnishings contractor is Kirk Gross Company.  It’s no accident that all of the building team operate in the Cedar Valley. “It’s imperative”, says Sommerfelt, “It’s the point we make with our Value in the Valley initiative. We promote doing business in the Cedar Valley, and our work is funded by membership investments of our businesses. It’s our practice to do business with our investor-members, while watching the costs through competitive proposals in each area of cost”, says Sommerfelt. “We encourage everyone to do the same,” she concludes.

But they’re still not finished even when the group moves in. “We have a large meeting room that we’d like to finish adjacent to our offices.” It is designed to hold about 60 people in a classroom setting. It would be used by the Alliance & Chamber for board meetings, Leader Valley training seminars, and regional collaboration sessions, such as for the Manufacturers Network and Cedar Valley Regional Partnership.  It would also be available to other tenants of the Tech 1 building. “We invite businesses and individuals who would like to help make that happen through sponsorship to contact Steve or me. It’s a terrific way to recognize your family or business while providing a meeting room where thousands will meet each year,” encouraged Sommerfelt.

The Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber is a private, not-for-profit corporation working to increase wealth and economic vitality through collaborative economic and community development throughout the Cedar Valley economic area. 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.

The TechWorks Campus is a 30-acre advanced manufacturing, research and development, innovation, education, commercial and manufacturing center. Located in downtown Waterloo adjacent to the John Deere Drive Train Operations, the campus is comprised of sites for new development and 300,000 square feet space in two historic John Deere manufacturing buildings. More information about TechWorks Campus can be found at www.techworkscampus.com or by calling Cary Darrah, President at (319) 232-1156.

The Leader Valley Foundation, born out of the Greater Cedar Valley Alliance & Chamber’s priority to develop a strong workforce and to strengthen business and education collaboration, has been formed to lead a business-education partnership to develop the leadership skills of Cedar Valley students to improve and close the skills gap over time, and prepare our students for a career, college and citizenship.  More information about Leader Valley can be found at www.leadervalley.org or by calling Dr. Melissa Reade, Director at (319) 232-1156.

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

Historic Tax Credits Awarded To The Green@TechWorks Campus

Iowa Cultural Affairs – State Historic Preservation Office has notified FDP, developer of The Green@TechWorks that $8.8 Million of Historic Tax Credits have been awarded to the project. The state office made the award based on a design that honored the industrial past of the Tech II structure while incorporating the features of the modern …business hotel, and office and educational spaces of The Green@TechWorks project. In addition to the work of Waterloo-based InVision architecture, FDP relied on Tallgrass Historians of Iowa City. Tallgrass Historians also assisted the developer in the process of nominating the site for the National Register of Historic Places.

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