July 6, 2009
Council Bluffs, IA sits across the river from Omaha, NE and has been challenged by the loss of manufacturing jobs and general economic decline. In recent years, the city has vigorously pursued a strategy to promote economic development and downtown revitalization, with NDC providing critical technical assistance. Most recently, working with the Pottawattamie County Development Corporation (PCDC) and Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce, NDC is helping facilitate the renovation of the downtown historic Hughes-Iron Building. The building, currently underutilized and occupied by a single tenant, was purchased by the PCDC several years ago as a first step towards its redevelopment and as part of a revitalizing downtown. But with the recent economic downturn, a private sector developer has been difficult to attract. In response, NDC helped PCDC create a plan to develop the project itself,moving the Chamber office from its current 3,000-square foot location in a converted, cramped fast food restaurant to an expanded 7,000-square foot space on the first floor of the Hughes-Iron building, thus creating an immediate revenue stream for the project. Additional space on the first floor is planned for other commercial tenants including a restaurant, 17 market-rate apartments will occupy the second floor and there will be covered parking at the rear. The project will be the first developed by the PCDC and NDC is providing development assistance.