Coe, city reach agreement on college fire station purchase

Extra: Rod Pritchard, Director of Marketing and Public Relations
(319) 399-8605 or

2013-08-13 13:48:46 - General

Coe College and the city of Cedar Rapids have reached an agreement to allow the college to purchase the fire station located at 1424 B Avenue NE. Coe plans to take possession of the facility next spring and utilize it for student housing.

Coe College and the city of Cedar Rapids have reached an agreement to allow the college to purchase the fire station located at 1424 B Avenue NE. The Cedar Rapids Fire Department plans to close the facility when the new west-side fire station opens later this year.

In February, the City Council accepted Coe’s initial proposal to purchase the fire station, and voted to direct the city development staff to work with Coe administrators to craft the final agreement. Negotiations took place over the past few months, yielding the agreement that was approved by the City Council at its Aug. 13 meeting. Coe expects to take possession of the facility sometime next spring.

The college plans to use the building for student housing. Coe has set a record for the number of students in residence for the past three years, and the college’s growth plans necessitate additional student housing in the future. The fire station will easily accommodate about 12 students in the upper-level quarters used by the firefighters. In addition, the college plans to renovate the lower level where the truck bays are currently located on a timeframe dictated by the need for student housing. Tentative plans call for about 30 students to occupy the facility when the remodeling is complete.

"We were pleased to work with many city officials, including those from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department and city development office, on the purchase and preservation of the B Avenue fire station," said Coe President David McInally. "With the college’s recent growth in enrollments and the resulting need for housing, we are eager to utilize the facility for additional residential space. We know that the fire station will be a popular housing option for our students."

The city accepted Coe's bid of $290,000 for the property, $10,000 above the appraised value. The fire station sits in the middle of the college's campus expansion project, which includes the two and one-half block area between 14th Street NE and 15th Street NE along A, B and C Avenues NE. Since early 2006, Coe has acquired approximately 80 percent of the properties in this area.

This transaction represents the college's third recent purchase of existing facilities for conversion to student housing. Last year, Coe purchased and renovated the historic Hampton Court Apartments, located at 1261 and 1263 First Avenue NE, directly across from Stuart Hall and next to the Brewed Awakenings coffee shop. Over the summer of 2012, Coe invested more than $1 million to renovate the two historical apartment buildings, which were originally constructed in 1914 and 1923, respectively. The two buildings contain 39 apartment units, and approximately 80 students are housed in the facilities.