By Angela Holmes
CEDAR RAPIDS – From a blank slate a little over a year ago, the Fountains development in northeast Cedar Rapids is taking shape with several retail stores, restaurants, offices, a clock tower and, yes, a pond with a fountain.
The 19.3-acre mixed-use development located near the corner of Blairs Ferry and Edgewood roads NE, just north of the coming Highway 100 extension, is a master-planned area with one developer, Compass Commercial Services, controlling the entire complex and creating a cohesive design style.
“The phases are bouncing around from what was originally planned,” said Joe Ahmann, president of Hiawatha-based Compass Commercial Services. “It currently is in phase three of five.”
The most recent business to open, PepperJax Grill, a quick casual restaurant featuring Philly steak and chicken sandwiches, burritos, rice bowls and salads, has enjoyed a steady stream of customers during its first few weeks of business, Mr. Ahmann said.
PepperJax is located in the second phase one building, which includes Olive’s Oil, featuring more than 40 varieties of fused or infused olive oils and flavored balsamic vinegars, and Red Wings Shoes, which relocated from the former Kmart shopping center on Collins Road. A State Farm office will open soon, Mr. Ahmann said.
Tenants in the first phase one building, which opened last October, include Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches; Sanctuary Spa, which moved from 290 Blairs Ferry Road NE; and Salon Jude, formerly New Millennium, which relocated from 3661 First Ave. SE.
The anchor ends of the phase one buildings are being reserved for two restaurants, which have not yet been determined, Mr. Ahmann noted.
Phase two will include 50,000 square feet of Class A office space. Construction on the building started last year but the weather hasn’t cooperated between the cold, snowy winter and the rainy spring and early summer, Mr. Ahmann said. He hopes to have the first tenant in the building by the end of fall.
Phase three is 14,500 square feet of mixed-use retail. Construction on it started early because there were several parties interested in the space, Mr. Ahmann said. He hopes to announce several tenants within the next month. The building includes small bay sizes of 1,300-1,350 square feet that can be expanded or combined.
Phases four and five, which should be completed in the next few years, will consist of additional Class A office buildings.
“We were willing to spec the first one without a tenant,” Mr. Ahman said. “The market will drive those two large buildings.”
The aesthetic amenities of the development, including a clock tower, roundabout, fountains, benches and lighting, should be completed by the end of July, weather permitting, Mr. Ahmann said.
The development is a new conception of the “one-stop-shop,” Mr. Ahmann said. Those who work in offices there will have restaurants, a grocery store and other retail stores within a walkable distance. Outdoor seating will be available for the general public as well.
“What’s really cool is we can say it’s all in the parking lot – grocery, gas, restaurants,” Mr. Ahmann said. “It’s all right there.”
Ample parking for restaurant patrons will be available after office workers go home after 5 p.m., he added.
Several tenants who just moved in the development told Mr. Ahmann they are pleased with their decision due to the master plan of future growth in the area, including the expansion of Highway 100 near Edgewood Road.
“It’s picking up every day,” he said. “Activity drives activity.”