UPDATE: Lease approved for Waterloo's Public Market building - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATE: Lease approved for Waterloo's Public Market building

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UPDATE: The Waterloo City Council approved lease of the city's Public Market building to Verve Kombucha on Tuesday.

Verve is a partnership between the owners of Singlespeed and Sidecar Coffee.

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Original Story (March 12, 2018):

Three different businesses are all competing for a spot in the heart of downtown Waterloo.

The companies are looking to move inside the Public Market building near the Riverloop Amphitheatre, which has been empty ever since the grocery and restaurant co-op closed down.

Ultimately, Waterloo's city council will decide who gets to move in.

Community Planning and Development Director for the city, Noel Anderson says the city is excited to see a new tenant move inside the building. 

"We really want something in the building that will really take advantage of being on this site next to this," said Anderson. "Whether it's serving crowds that are here for a wedding or for My Waterloo Days or just taking advantage of the highway visibility to bring people down to this area as well."

The first company vying to be the new tenant inside the building is Waterloo Bicycle Works, which currently sits across the street from the Public Market. 

Owner Gregory Young and his wife Jessica, have been open for four years. They are looking to expand. 

 "We liked the direction downtown Waterloo was going and we wanted to be apart of that," said Young. "And I think we have been, I think we've been a positive influence down here."

The two say the vision would include a bike shop, plus a cafe, and bring in clothing retailer Raygun.

Down the street, in the renovated Wonder Bread building, Sidecar Coffee co-owner Andy Fuchtman would like to open a Kombucha brewery. 

"I mean if you go to the health food section of any grocery store, you can see tons of kombucha options," said Fuchtman. "Most of them are made in California. The reason people are turning to kombucha is because it's sweet. Like pop, but it's has much lower calories. It's fizzy and delicious like beer but it doesn't have alcohol."

The trendy beverage sweeping the coast has been brewing a frenzy right here in Iowa. 

"So many people are looking to live positive lifestyles, being very careful with what they put in their bodies, and kombucha fits right in there with that," said Fuchtman."

Verve Kombucha would also include brewing Sidecar coffee and a restaurant. 

Lark Brewing, which is currently located on University Avenue in Waterloo is looking to make its way downtown.

"This location has been a challenge for us, on the lower level of a restaurant with not as much street exposure plus we need a lot more space," said Co-owner Shawn Christensen. 

Christensen says Lark would also offer a menu setting it apart from SingleSpeed brewery in downtown Waterloo.

"Incorporating more of an international barbecue theme," said Christensen. "Imagine like burnt tips and banh mi. Imagine some Filipino barbecue."

None of the companies sell the same product, but what they do share, is a commitment to downtown Waterloo and seeing the city grow. 

Anderson says the city will be working with Waterloo's 'Development Corporation', the nonprofit who originally helped with downtown's re-development. Then they'll hold a work session, where they'll make a recommendation to council. 

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