Rockwell Collins to move E-business division downtown - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Rockwell Collins to move E-business division downtown

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)- Wednesday morning, city leaders welcomed the downtown's biggest acquisition since 2008's flood.

'Downtown Des Moines, their largest employers have a presence.  We don't have that here in Cedar Rapids,'' said Cedar Rapids mayor Ron Corbett.  "After today, I won't be able to make that statement.

Rockwell Collins, Cedar Rapids' largest employer will be moving 400 of its information technology employees into downtown office space.  The company is relocating this group of employees because it will need more space after announcing it is looking to hire 800 more employees.  Of those, about half of those positions will reside in Iowa.

"The key was to make room for this new 400 positions that are coming.  That has bigger value for our businesses, said Jean Paul Besong,  senior vice president of E-business at Rockwell Collins.

The announcement also has tremendous value for Cedar Rapids' downtown district looking to rebound from 2008's flood.

"We're actually beating the statistics and doing a lot better than other communities that are recovering from disasters like ours.'' said Vanessa Solesbee, operations director of the Cedar Rapids Downtown District.

The Downtown District reports more than 80 percent of businesses have returned and more than 90 percent of the jobs are back.

The Rockwell Collins addition to downtown could open the gate for other businesses to follow in its footsteps.

''I think that Rockwell's investment means that the rest of our community and our region is realizing that the rest of our downtown is going up, and they want to jump on board.''

Construction will begin after Christmas and the space is expected to be ready to move in to by March of 2011.

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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