116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — This past summer, a Chicago-based real estate company was looking to expand its presence in Iowa City.
CA Ventures, working with Axiom Consultants, wanted to build a 13-story mixed-use building at 21 S. Linn St. The proposal included 229 residential units, with 188 studio or one-bedroom apartments and 41 two-bedroom apartments.
The proposal included razing the U.S. Bank building and parking area now on the lot.
The real estate company previously developed Rise at Riverfront Crossings, a 15-story student housing development with more than 300 units.
CA Ventures submitted an application to the Board of Adjustment for a special exception to parking rules for the Linn Street building.
The developers asked for a 50 percent reduction in parking spaces and to provide a portion of parking on the building’s ground floor. A total of 67 parking spots would have been provided instead of 135.
What’s happened since
The city’s Board of Adjustment met Aug. 11 and denied the special exception on a 3-2 vote.
Board members Nancy Carlson, Gene Chrischilles and Mark Russo voted to deny the special exception. Members Bryce Parker and Amy Pretorius voted in favor.
Those voting against it brought up concerns about how the exception will affect parking downtown and how these exceptions are becoming more frequent.
Carlson said she feels “uncomfortable constantly having to give a deduction in parking.”
“These are supposed to be special exceptions. That means it’s not very often,” Carlson said.
Chrischilles and Carlson said they’re not opposed to residential development at the site but would like to see some changes to the proposal so it aligns more with the city’s comprehensive plan for the area.
Russo recommended the developer change it to nine floors instead of 13, which is in line with the comprehensive plan.
CA Ventures Vice President Andrew Savoy told the Iowa City Press-Citizen after the vote that his company would have to digest the decision. CA Ventures filed a request for a reconsideration of the vote Aug. 24, which was on the board’s Sept. 8 agenda.
To reconsider the vote, a member who voted in the majority had to be the one to make the motion. Russo made the motion to reconsider.
Neither Chrischilles nor Carlson seconded the vote. Parker was absent. As board chair, Pretorius was not allowed to second.
A motion by Russo to defer the reconsideration until a full board was present also was not seconded.
Savoy did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The Gazette about whether CA Ventures will resubmit a proposal.
Iowa City senior planner Anne Russett said the city hasn’t received any updated proposals for the 21 S. Linn St. property.
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