Paramont Theatre Rehabilitation
Developer: Paramount Theatre Developer LLC
Owner: Paramount Theatre LLC
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
The Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits is pleased to award the 2013 Historic Tax Credit Development that Best Exemplifies Major Community Impact to Paramount Theatre LLC for rehabilitating the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. When a flood devastated downtown Cedar Rapids in 2008, the Paramount Theatre, a fixture in Cedar Rapids since its opening in 1928, was submerged under water and nearly destroyed. Damage to the theater was estimated at around $22 million. The ground level of the theater was submerged under 8 feet of water, the electrical and mechanical systems were destroyed and the theater’s famous Wurlitzer Organ was damaged beyond repair. The flood also inundated 10 square miles of Cedar Rapids, including most of the downtown core and art districts, surpassing any other area flood in recorded history.
As the community rallied to save the National Register-listed building, stakeholders used disaster relief funding and the historic tax credit to restore the theater. Total project costs for the three-year construction process totaled more than $43 million. The project benefited from a federal historic tax credit allocation of $5.8 million and also received $6.6million under the 25 percent Iowa state historic tax credit. The project also received funding from federal and state disaster programs and grants.
The creative mix of funding achieved multiple goals, including enhancing the theatre with updated technology, clearer acoustics and a larger stage house. Paramount Theatre LLP also restored the beauty of the building’s historic spaces and mitigated damage from potential future flooding.
The grand reopening of the Paramount Theatre on Nov. 3, 2012 signified an economic and cultural victory. The rehabilitation of this landmark ensured that the devastation caused by the natural disaster would not permanently destroy the earlier vitality of downtown Cedar Rapids. In addition to enabling the theater to continue to act as a source of local pride and a main attraction for tourists, it has also helped downtown businesses remain vibrant. The theater is once again attracting visitors to downtown Cedar Rapids with its touring Broadway shows, ballets, live music and comedy acts and community performances, bringing patronage to local restaurants and hotels. The project also created close to 250 permanent full-time jobs and more than 1,000 construction jobs.
Congratulations once again to Paramount Theatre LLC for its dedication to restoring the economic health and viability of downtown Cedar Rapids.