New high-rise put on hold

BY PAUL OSGERBY | JUNE 25, 2014 5:00 AM

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The ball is now in the university’s court after the Iowa City City Council extended the deadline covering a potentially valuable plot of land.

The property is located on the intersection of Burlington and Clinton Streets, and the developers are now waiting for University of Iowa to make a decision on whether it is interested in pursuing the location.

“[The extension means] we will just sit back and wait,” said Kevin Digmann, a partner of Hieronymus Square Associates, which is a conglomerate of local developers.

A proposed building would be a high-rise, which fits in with the master plan for downtown and Riverfront Crossings.

All plans and designs are put on hold for the moment, Digmann said.

At last week’s City Council meeting, members voted 7-0 to extend the purchase deadline for Hieronymus Square to submit an offer for the city-owned parcel situated near the Court Street Transportation Center and 301 S. Dubuque St.

It sits across the street from the new Voxman Music Building, which is under construction and slated to be completed by May 2016.

City officials and Hieronymus Square developers will have until April 1, 2015, to reach a purchase agreement. It was originally set for June 10 of this year.

Last year, the conglomerate submitted a $670,000 offer for the property.

The lot has remained vacant for several years now because development and purchase plans have been in constant flux.

The deadline extension comes as Hieronymus Square officials wait for a pending decision from the UI about buying a new location for the Museum of Art near downtown.

“The university will evaluate all the proposals that are submitted over the course of several months following the submittal deadline,” UI spokesman Tom Moore wrote in an email.

No bids will be made until all submissions are evaluated, he said.

The proposals are due by July 1.

“It’s hard to tell at this stage [where the development will head],” said Wendy Ford, the city’s economic-development coordinator.

She said it’s too early for city officials to tell if the university has narrowed down potential sites.

Digmann said if the university submits a bid for the corner property, then the group of developers hope to work alongside the university.

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