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CRST Building For The Future In CR

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28) -- A long-time Cedar Rapids business is set to move, but not as far away as you may think. Trucking company CRST is looking to make a new home right by the Cedar River in downtown Cedar Rapids.

CRST's new world headquarters would be built between Second and Third Avenue, right next to Alliant Tower. They say with it comes with potential new jobs, a fresh economic boost, and yet another sign that downtown is alive and kicking once again.

"There's been no large project in downtown Cedar Rapids in terms of a high rise since the great America building," says CRST chairman John Smith.

His company hopes to change that. An artist's rendering shows their new 11 story building that may rise above the Cedar Rapids skyline. Smith says the company has outgrown its old 16th avenue location. So a move to the downtown area is a no-brainier.

"We thought that this would really give the statement that 1, we're gonna be around for a long time, and 2, we think the downtown is important and we want to be part of that development," Smith says.

The city says that's the kind of commitment they want to see - a company that was born here staying here.

"Coming up on that six year anniversary of the flood, I think this is a great symbol for how far we've come," says Jennifer Pratt with CR Community Development.

Included with the actual building is an even greater symbol of flood recovery - a piece to the city's flood mitigation puzzle.

"We were able to integrate the flood wall into the building, so there's a flood wall as well as a storm water vault," Pratt says.

It's all part of the plan to keep the downtown strong, and if you look at all the new restaurants and businesses, it might be working.

Over at Rock Bar, which has its grand opening Friday night, owner Kirby Patten says he wants to be along for the ride.

"I feel like downtown has become somewhere people go on the weekends, throughout the week," says Kirby Patten, owner of the Rock Bar. "I feel like it's better than it ever has been."

And if CRST moves in, he welcomes his new neighbors.

"They can come eat every day," Patten says. "I think any business downtown is good for each other, they grow off each other.

Bankers Trust will be the anchor tenant of the building, occupying the top two floors of the building in order to expand its commercial and private banking, residential mortgage and trust and wealth management services.

The 37 million dollar project could break ground this summer. CRST is waiting for approval from the city on Tuesday. Final approval of state and local financial assistance will come in mid-June.
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