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New high-rise offer made

BY REBECCA MORIN | SEPTEMBER 16, 2013 5:00 AM

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In the face of several discussions regarding expanding Iowa City’s skyline upward that brought forth both backlash and praise, another new high-rise appears to be in the planning stages.

With construction continuing on the nearly $11 million, 14-story Park@201 on the Pedestrian Mall and legal discussion pushing forward on the controversial 20-story the Chauncey, another local development company has stepped forward with tall intentions.

Hieronymus Square Associates, which is composed of several local developers, has submitted an offer to purchase long-vacant property on a southern perimeter of downtown.

The city-owned land, located north of the Court Street Transportation Center, 301 S. Dubuque St., is an area in which city officials would like to see future growth.

Hieronymus Square has offered $670,000 for the property, which is located within feet of a new 12-story dual hotel project and the University of Iowa’s new School of Music complex, both of which are slated for completion in the coming few years.

The dual hotel project, anchored by a Holiday Inn & Suites and StayBridge Suites, would like to break ground sometime in early 2014, with an expected 18-month construction period.

The School of Music’s new facility is scheduled for a May 2016 completion date, according to a recent state Board of Regents’ report.

The property in question is located in the City-University Project and Urban Renewal Area, which requires the city to seek competing proposals prior to accepting the offer.

The City Council is expected to vote on a resolution on Tuesday.

Kevin Digmann, a partner in Hieronymus Square Associates, and the general manager for the Old Capitol Town Center did not return phone calls or emails as of Sunday evening.

Jeff Davidson, the director of the city’s Planning & Community Development Department, said a proposed high-rise building fits in with the city’s desired Riverfront Crossings District.

“The Downtown/Riverfront Crossings Master Plan which the City Council has adopted does contemplate a high-rise building at this location,” he said in an email. “However, there is no specific development proposal at this time.”

The offer considers the property would be redeveloped in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Mod Pod real estate property, which is adjacent to the property up for consideration.

“We are simply trying to add the city’s parcel to the Mod Pod parcel so that such a building could be possible,” Davidson said. “Right now, neither parcel could be developed as contemplated by the plan — only if they are combined.”


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