Matthew 25

Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Client
    Matthew 25
  • SQ. FT.
  • Budget
  • Market
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After the 2008 flood, which devastated large swaths of Cedar Rapids, Matthew 25 partnered with other organizations to invest more than $6 million to rebuild 25 blocks and move more than 250 families back into their revitalized neighborhoods.
In 2013, expanding beyond the capacity of their current space and nearing the end of a lease, Matthew 25 approached OPN Architects, with whom the organization has had a longstanding relationship, to assess and reconfigure 12,400 square feet in a century-old building for the group’s 21st century needs.

In response to time and budget constraints, OPN and Matthew 25 decided on a two-phased approach to the renovation, which included modifying and reconfiguring the original 1923 Kingston Building plus two large open spaces added on to in 1975 and 1983 used by the previous owner for manufacturing and warehousing.

All of the 6,800 square feet used by Matthew 25 — the remaining 5,000 square feet has been set aside for future tenants — was improved to some extent as part of Phase I before the organization could move in. About 4,000 square feet were extensively reimagined to turn a former printing facility into separate spaces for Matthew 25’s various community outreach initiatives, including a tool lending library, urban farm staging and work area and a performance and gathering space. In addition to reconfiguring the space, a sprinkler system and other updates were made to the building’s mechanicals to bring it up to code.

The design team took special care not to affect the historic facade, such as decorative brickwork panels and banding, brick pilasters with terracotta stylized Ionic capitals, a glass block band, and glazed terracotta cartouches with stylized floral design and decorative shields with stylized crowns. Inside, pressed metal ceiling panels are being preserved and repaired.

Phase II of the project began in Fall 2015 and will wrap up Fall 2016. The 3,500 square foot section includes offices, a coffee shop and performance space, and a kitchen that will serve the coffee shop and eventually provide entrepreneurial opportunities, skills development, and business incubation to the local community.

A new entrance into the south portion of the building provides access to future tenant spaces.

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