By The Gazette | Updated: Tuesday, December 30, 2014|
MARION — Plans have been altered and the timetable pushed back, but completion is on the horizon for a local food-focused restaurant that will add a culinary twist to the Uptown Marion business district. The managing partner of Zins in downtown Cedar Rapids is opening the restaurant tentatively called the Local with an attached bakery called Bake at 1204 Seventh Ave., which is the former location of a Jiffy Lube. “
It’s a quality, creative product, but I’ve put my last white tablecloth on a table for a while,” said Lee Belfield, setting the tone that it is not fine dining. “We have plenty of those.”
The plan had been to open early in 2014, but the project was met with delays. Ground work revealed unexpected environmental contaminants, which forced additional cleanup and design changes, such as scaling back from three stories to two, requiring more preliminary work.
From the outside, a finished product still appears far off, but construction is on track for a second quarter 2015 opening, said Belfield. The extra time is fine with Belfield, who among his many hats also is general manager of The Hotel at Kirkwood Center.
The main floor will feature the restaurant, bakery and a deli, as well as some outdoor seating. Upstairs will be a rooftop wine bar overlooking Marion. The wine bar may open after the restaurant, Belfield said. The building’s second floor is slated as apartments, but those will not be built immediately.
Marion-based Capital Commercial is developing the building. Belfield said the mission is to source ingredients from nearby, such as NewBo City Market vendors and have the chefs regularly change the menu based on what’s in season. The Local will be open for lunch and dinner, and Bake will likely be open early in the morning until early evening, Belfield said.
Ashley Zierath, director of Uptown Marion, said she is excited about the potential for the space. “We are extremely excited about what it would add to the Uptown Marion district,” Zierath said.
Lon Pluckhahn, Marion city manager, said the city still is negotiating an incentive package to help offset costs for the brownfield redevelopment. The building costs about $3.5 million, which includes about $350,000 for the environmental work, he said. The finished product should increase the property value from about $150,000 to about $3 million, he said.
“Anytime you turn property that had something like a Jiffy Lube on it into a new building where you are going to draw more people to the Uptown, that is a good opportunity,” he said.