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Officials react to nine proposal requests for Gilbert-College Street lot

BY NATHANIEL OTJEN | OCTOBER 09, 2012 6:30 AM

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City officials say any development in the lot at the intersection of College and Gilbert Streets will aid the vitality of downtown, even with other high-rise projects already in the works.

Nine proposals for development at College and Gilbert Streets present an array of projects — from a bowling alley to grocery stores to hotels and apartments.

“Right now, we are evaluating all of the proposals internally — the staff is,” said John Yapp of city planning. “We have a variety of proposals in front of us.”

The College-Gilbert proposals vary widely in proposed projects by developer.

Sherman Associates:

This proposal for a 13-story building includes the New Pioneer Co-op on the first floor, 11 floors of housing rental units, and one floor of offices.

SagaCity:

This proposal for a five-story, 119-unit upscale hotel includes four stories of hotel rooms and meeting rooms on the first floor.

Ryan Companies/Iceberg Development:

This proposal for a five-story building includes the New Pioneer Co-op on the first floor and four floors of studio apartments and one- and two-bedroom condos.

Gilcol LLC:

This proposal for a six-story building includes a commercial space on the first two floors and then four floors of one- and two-bedroom condominiums.

Chauncey Gardens LLC:

This proposal for a 18-story building includes the New Pioneer Co-op on the first floor, one floor of retail and restaurant space, two floors of office space, one floor of resident amenities, and 13 floors of studio and one- and two-bedroom residential units.

The Chauncey LLC:

This proposal for a 20-story building includes a bowling alley, café, and two movie theaters operated by FilmScene on the first floor. The proposal also includes plans for three floors of office space, a 35-unit hotel, and 12 floors of studio and one- and two-bedroom residential units.

Campus Acquisitions:

This proposal for a 15-story building includes a grocery on the first and second floors, one floor of lobby and residential amenities, two floors of office space, and 10 floors of one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Burns/MDK Development:

This proposal for a 13-story building includes a grocery and retail space on the first floor, one floor of office space that is proposed for a video-game developer, and up to 11 floors of studio and one- and two-bedroom residential units.

4 Zero 4 Zero:

This proposal for an eight-story building includes the Bike Library and the New Pioneer Co-op on the first floor with two floors of office space and five floors of efficiency, one- and two-bedroom apartments.

Locals appear to have differing views of what’s necessary for the lot.

New Pioneer has been included in four of the nine building proposals, with two proposals being submitted by Sherman and Associates.

“We need to expand our store here in Iowa City because we have capacity issues,” said Matt Hartz, the general manager of New Pioneer. “Site options are quite limited; this particular site happens to be right across the street from us.”

Officials said proposals for studios and small bedroom apartments and condominiums will help the city.

“I’m really open-minded to see what goes there,” City Councilor Connie Champion said. “It would be nice to have some small apartments there. I think there’s a great demand.”

Charles Connerly, a UI professor of urban and regional planning, believes the high-rise tower proposals will be good for Iowa City.

“It is pretty amazing considering the city for a long time has been a low-rise city,” he said. “There’s been a delay in this kind of demand, and it’s coming.”

The city will create a committee consisting of the City Planning, Public Works, and the City Attorney’s Office along with two city councilors to evaluate the proposals and then recommend a list of finalists to present their projects to the City Council.

The evaluation is expected to take four to six weeks with a timeframe of two to three months before the council can formally discuss the projects. Members of the he public will have the opportunity to speak about their thoughts on the proposed projects when the City Council discusses the proposals.

“[The city council is looking for] an urban building that helps add to the downtown,” Yapp said. “It’s a good location to add to the vitality of downtown.”


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