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Finalists for Iowa City building site present proposals

BY NICK HASSETT | NOVEMBER 27, 2012 6:30 AM

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Five developers presented their proposals for the redevelopment of the northeast corner of College and Gilbert Streets at a special Iowa City City Council work session Monday night, and the city councilors were impressed with the finalists’ plans.

Ranging from a 20-story entertainment center to a “midrise” six-story residential building, the proposals covered a wide spectrum of options for the location.

Sherman Associates

The Sherman Associates proposal centered on a 13-story building, with the New Pioneer Co-Op occupying the first two floors and 11 stories of residential housing, targeted at downtown workers.

“We imagine an urban environment that is alive seven days a week,” said George Sherman, the owner of Sherman Associates. “We want to attract residents to Iowa City as a place to live and work.”

Chauncey Gardens

The Chauncey Gardens proposal focused on a “greener” approach. The proposal, which would include the New Pioneer Co-Op, features 15 stories of mostly residential space, with shared communal spaces and several gardens.

Project head Jesse Allen said the goal of the proposed building is to create an attraction in Iowa City with a green image.

“We want to create a destination point,” he said. “[Our proposal] interweaves the park throughout the building.”

The Chauncey

The Chauncey proposal included residential and office space as well as entertainment venues, with a focus on the latter, all encompassed in a 20-story building.

The plan would include a full-time cinema.

“We see it being a lively building at all times of the day,” said project lead Steve Rohrbach.

To concerns about the size of the proposal, the developers thought the site would work well for the size, more so than other downtown areas.

4 Zero 4

The 4 Zero 4 proposes an eight-story building that would include the Bike Library and the New Pioneer Co-op on the first floor, with two floors of office space and five floors of efficiencies and one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The proposal also focused on the energy efficiency of the proposal, with solar panels adorning one side of the building. Developers said the panels would help them achieve near net-zero energy efficiency for the entire building.

Tim Dwight, a representative of the proposal and former Hawkeye football player, said the building would take a transitional approach between the downtown area and the outerlying communities.

“We see this is an issue of how to enhance the city core,” he said. “We’re building something that will last for long past our time.”

Ryan Companies/Iceberg Development

Ryan Companies/Iceberg Development, represented by Marc Gullickson and Jim Berg, proposes a five-story building with the New Pioneer Co-op on the first floor and four floors of studio apartments.

Ryan Companies representative Mark Gullickson said the proposal was focused on creating a simple, lower-scale building for the area.

“We are calling this a midrise solution,” he said. “It has a smaller footprint and will be less expensive to build.”

The proposal would have only for-rent residential spaces, in contrast to the other proposals, most of which featured some combination of rental and owned spaces.

Moving forward

City Councilor Jim Throgmorton thought whatever proposal that ends up being picked would be a trendsetter for the city.

“What we build here will set the tone [for other buildings in the city],” he said.

Mayor Matt Hayek was impressed with all of the presentations, saying that the councilors will have a difficult decision ahead of them.

The council will next discuss the developments at its Dec. 4 meeting, when the topic will be open forĀ  public comment.


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