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State Grant to Help Bring Apartments, Retail to East Village Site

A vacant lot in the East Village is expected to become the site of apartments and retail businesses after the project’s developers won a $3 million state grant.

Investor Jim Cownie and developer Tim Rypma are teaming up to develop the city land at 350 E. Locust St., just east of Metro Waste Authority. Their group, East Village Growth Partners, plans to build a $7.9 million, five-story building that will include 6,100 square feet of retail space and 20 apartments.

Investors, including Cownie and Bill Knapp, will put $800,000 into the project. Rypma, who lives in the East Village and owns several buildings there, has been a key player in the area’s revival. (Editor's Note: Rypma received a UI Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management in 2004.)

City leaders have said the project will greatly improve the site, which was considered too small and too expensive to improve. Rypma said the $3 million in state disaster recovery funding made the project viable.

Rypma plans to begin construction by Oct. 1 and finish in 10 months. He’s looking for three retailers for the first floor, such as a boutique, restaurant, or other entertainment business that would complement the East Village, he said.

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