CRST Center Alters Cedar Rapids Skyline

Sep 15, 2016

The latest addition to the Cedar Rapids skyline is the 11-story CRST Center located near the Cedar River downtown.

The CRST Center in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Credit CRST International

The $37 million building will be the corporate headquarters for the transportation company CRST International. The trucking firm will occupy two of the floors, with Bankers Trust, Holmes Murphy and RSM International renting office space. Company chairman John Smith says since CRST announced plans to move its corporate campus downtown from southwest Cedar Rapids, others are considering similar moves.

“I can’t say it was our announcement," he says. "But I do think it helped, and I think it made people think differently about downtown Cedar Rapids.”

Smith, says the company could have moved elsewhere in Cedar Rapids, but chose downtown.

“I think there’s a consensus around the community that we need a vibrant downtown," Smith says. "And this is one way to do it, start investing.”

Smith says there’s an unusual design element to the CRST Center. The fourth floor is perpendicular to the rest of the building. At 180 feet, it’s among the tallest buildings in Cedar Rapids.  CRST was founded more than 60 years ago in a converted chicken coop by Smith’s parents. It has grown to an operation with $1.2 billion in annual revenue and more than 10,000 employees and independent operators in 13 states.