Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Client
    Metro Economic Alliance
  • SQ. FT.
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  • Market
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The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance formed in 2012 by merging the economic and community development efforts of the former Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Cedar Rapids Downtown District and Priority One. The creation of the alliance not only combined efforts, it consolidated two physical offices into one new space. This unique governance structure required an equally innovative renovation of a pre-existing historic building in downtown Cedar Rapids.

OPN Architects worked with Alliance leadership and Ryan Companies to transform a one-time fire station addition turned Science Station and IMAX Theater into a space that is smart, innovative and progressive. The Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance & Innovation Center was renovated and repurposed into a contemporary, open-air space used for the day-to-day staff operations as well as for community and regional networking gatherings. The single-story building was expanded by adding a second floor and a large glass curtain wall and open staircase converted the section of the building that was once a double-height former theater into an accessible focal point.

Because the Alliance wanted to be able to rent rooms within the space, one of the goals during the renovation of the 17,500 foot space was to design areas that are accessible and welcoming not just to the staff but to the public. Meeting rooms, teaming spaces, collaborative spaces, an open work café, large open lobby, and support capabilities for multipurpose/meeting spaces were added.

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