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Iowa City to Redevelop Fmr Church Plot

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - Drive through Iowa City and you can't miss the half dozen cranes looming over downtown -- a major sign of redevelopment -- and soon, another construction site will be added to the mix.

The city of Iowa City is working to redevelop the southwest corner of Linn and Court Streets as an extension of downtown and the forthcoming Riverfront Crossings development plan.

But with the words "St. Pat's Parking" still painted on still beams in the back of the lot, and a painted cross lingering beyond a crumbling staircase, it is hard to ignore that the intersection was once home to a church.

"Back in 2006, I would never have imagined standing here, seeing the remains of what was our parish hall," said Father Rudolph T. Juarez of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.

The 2006 tornado destroyed the church's parish hall, and the city bought the land, later turning it into a parking lot. With some squashed redevelopment plans in the past, city developers are now looking at six different building options for what the space could become.

"It's in good hands, and we trust that it will be put to good use," Juarez said.

The proposals come from real estate and development firms from Colorado to Chicago, and involve many different characteristics.

"They're large building, they're high-density buildings, they're going to have a lot of activity associated with them, just as downtown does," said Iowa City economic development administrator Jeff Davidson.

The Millennium proposal from Louisville, CO-based Real Capital Solutions is a $34.9 million project. It is an eight-story residential and co-working office space building. It will also house a fitness center, courtyard, hot tubs, fire pits, and a clubhouse. HUB, a co-workspace developer and operator could come in to run the office space, if needed.

The Linn and Court proposal from Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates is a $66.9 million project. It includes five stories for apartments and six stories for a 146-room, national brand hotel. There will also be flexible office space, a courtyard, rooftop deck, community room, pool, patio, theater room, and fitness center.

The Court Linn Terrace proposal from Prairie Sun Building Services in Iowa City is a $65.7 million project. It is a 10-and-15-story mixed use building including a business incubator, daycare, retail space, and a nonprofit in two different buildings, along with residential apartments.

The Linn | Court Lofts from CG Hanson, Inc. in Iowa City is a $56.5 million project designed as housing for active senior citizens. It is a 12-story building with for a university-based retirement community with commercial space "that encourages learning and living," according to city documents. It also includes two levels of retail space, and open space for a second tower.

The HUB at Iowa City from Core Campus in Chicago and does not have an estimated cost, though others in the Core Campus portfolio have ranged from $25 to $102.5 million. HUB (not to be confused with the co-workspace development company) would be a 15-story mixed use student and young professional apartment building with combined retail space.

A final, unnamed project from Chicago-based CA Venture (formerly known as Campus Acquisitions) is an $87.7 million project. It includes three high-rise towers. The first is a 117-room hotel and retail space. The second and third buildings include student housing with parking connected to all, with an option to include office space.

An internal committee of city staff will review the proposals, and bring them to the city council and public for input. Davidson estimates the process will last through the fall.
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