New $7M housing unit may come to Iowa City


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The Iowa City City Council will vote Tuesday on a resolution to approve a multifamily housing development — one that would aid in replacing housing lost in the 2008 flood.

The company, 4 Zero 4 LLC, hopes to replace the housing destroyed or acquired from the flood buyouts. The proposed site is 700 S. Dubuque Street, and it would include 40 to 44 multi-family units, according to a city documents. The development would include 12 live/work lofts, 16 one-bedroom lofts, and 16 efficiency lofts.

Steve Long, the city’s community-development coordinator, said the hope with the building is not only to provide more housing to make up the units lost in the flood but also to create more affordable housing.

“We’ve constructed a number of units to replace the housing units but also have the opportunity to have affordable and rentable opportunities close to downtown,” he said.

4 Zero 4 developers Jake Christensen, Justin Doyle, and former Hawkeye football player Tim Dwight submitted a proposal for development for the corner of College and Gilbert Streets. The City Council instead selected The Chauncey for that space.

Some city councilors believe this plan for Dubuque Street would bring diversity to the Riverfront Crossings District, and would aid flood-recovery efforts.

“I strongly support this, and I assume this will get strong support overall from the City Council,” City Councilor Susan Mims said.

Roughly 268 homes were damaged in the 2008 flood. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had appropriated $214 million in a Community Development Block Grant for Iowa homes with more than 50 percent damage but lie outside the 100-year floodplain.

City Councilor Connie Champion said she supported the project but would not comment further until the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting.

4 Zero 4 will present the SoBu Lofts proposal to the councilors Tuesday, and if they support the plan, the business will then ask the state for a $3 million Iowa Economic Development Authority grant. The project is expected to cost roughly $7 million.

Long said the grant would provide the benefit of having affordable housing relatively near downtown.

Riverfront Crossings is an area of low foot traffic, but some nearby businesses said it’s not a major hindrance. The Club Car bar has been located at 122 Wright St. — less than a block from the proposed development site — for eight years.

“I’m assuming there will be more people in the area, because more people will be living here,” Club Car employee Melinda Smith said. “We’re already loaded with apartments; there are a lot of people in this area.”

Mims said the development would help diversify Iowa City housing opportunities. She specifically highlighted the plan to include living/work spaces in the proposed development, saying that would be beneficial for people who work in their home, such as artists.

The idea of creating a building to answer this need arose because the Iowa Economic Development Authority asked for proposals for affordable multifamily rental development, according to city documents.

The funding would come from the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Housing Recovery fund.

If the City Council approves the project, 4 Zero 4 will have to submit a proposal to the Iowa Economic Development Authority by March 1 in order for the project to be considered; a decision will be announced May 1.

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