Potential Hancher site owner: No deal


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

If UI officials decide to move Hancher Auditorium to downtown Iowa City, they might have to exercise eminent domain for the first time in the university’s history.

The owners of downtown apartment complex Pentacrest Gardens told UI officials and the Iowa City City Council, in separate letters from their attorney, that they aren’t planning to sell the roughly 3.5 acre site.

“University representatives have approached my client with the prospect of acquiring Pentacrest Garden Apartments,” Joseph Holland, a legal representative for Pentacrest Garden LLC, said in the Nov. 18 letter to the UI. “My client’s owners have asked me to write and make clear that they are not interested in selling the property at this time.”

If the owner refuses to sell, UI officials could exercise eminent domain, which allows them to seize the property without consent by providing the owner with due compensation. The value of the land is assessed at $1.68 million, and the total value of the five-building complex is roughly $5.51 million, according to the Iowa City Assessor’s website.

UI spokesman Tom Moore said he was unaware of the UI ever using eminent domain. Members of the UI General Counsel’s Office, which handles all of the university’s legal matters, did not return calls on Monday.

The apartments — located south of Burlington Street roughly between Clinton Street and Madison Street — house many UI students.

The site’s proximity to campus is one of the main reasons UI officials selected it as a possible spot for the new Hancher/Voxmann/Clapp complex.

Kristin Thelander, the director of planning for the School of Music, said the move would make it easier for music students to get to and from class and increase visibility for the school. Both students and faculty have been vocal in support of the downtown location, she said.

“The faculty have made it clear they would prefer to be downtown,” Thelander said.

If UI officials move Hancher to the downtown site, they’d likely have to purchase the Kum & Go, Bank of the West, and a local auto-repair shop, according to plans.

UI junior Ryan Brondyke, a sales associate at Kum & Go, 25 W. Burlington St., said he thinks the store’s owners are unlikely to sell the location in anticipation of a spike in business after construction is completed on the new UI Health and Wellness Center across the street. The owners were unavailable on Monday.

In the letter to the City Council, Holland said the city would lose $110,000 per year in property tax revenue if the apartments closed. Though the City Council has no direct involvement in the site selection, Holland asked councilors to encourage university officials to choose the site west of the Iowa River.

Mayor Regenia Bailey said she has seen enthusiasm about developing near the downtown location, which she favors, and said the property-tax revenue would “pale in comparison” to what the city could gain.

Bailey said the council could discuss the company’s letter at its council meeting at 7 p.m. today.

> Share your thoughts! Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.

comments powered by Disqus
Daily Iowan Advertising
Today's Display Ads | Today's Classifieds | Advertising Info

Follow the DI through:


Sponsored Links  
T-Shirt Design  
Insurance Leads Charlotte Web Design
Health Insurance Leads Home Equity Loans
Life Insurance  
Custom Magnets DMI Furniture
Solar Products Custom USB
Snow Removal & Odd Jobs Buy a text ad


Privacy Policy (8/15/07) | Terms of Use (4/28/08) | Content Submission Agreement (8/23/07) | Copyright Compliance Policy (8/25/07) | RSS Terms of Use

Copyright © The Daily Iowan, All Rights Reserved.