Government

Iowa City Council votes to rezone in first step toward potential 15-story development

Developer gets eight stories automatically with new zoning, seven stories may be approved at later date

Four towers of student-oriented housing are proposed to replace the much smaller Pentacrest Garden Apartment complex adjacent to the historic Johnson County Courthouse. (Illustration provied by city of Iowa Cioty)
Four towers of student-oriented housing are proposed to replace the much smaller Pentacrest Garden Apartment complex adjacent to the historic Johnson County Courthouse. (Illustration provied by city of Iowa Cioty)

IOWA CITY — A four-building development planned for 12 E. Court St. in downtown Iowa City cleared the first hurdle in eventually getting approval for its planned 15 stories.

The Iowa City Council approved 6-0 Tuesday night the final reading of a rezoning of the property, which now is occupied by Pentacrest Garden Apartments. The property went from a high-density multifamily zone to a Riverfront Crossings zone, which allows for up to eight stories automatically, but an additional seven stories can be approved later.

The rezoning took months to pass council, with postponements coming at both the developer’s and council’s request. Last month, the council asked the first reading to be delayed so staff could negotiate certain conditions to attach to the rezoning with the developer.

After the developer agreed to the conditions, city staff recommended the second and third rezoning readings be condensed to one council meeting.

The conditions ensure the project conformed with the city’s master plan for the district.

Among the conditions are that the structures must “substantially conform” to the building footprints shown in the Downtown and Riverfront Crossings Master Plan. Otherwise, changes much be approved by the Iowa City Council.

The city also is requiring the project’s architects to have experience with “high-quality urban design” for the exterior and “large-scale student housing and/or residence halls” for the interior to best support university students.

The developer behind the project is the Clark family of student-oriented rentals such as Apartments Downtown and Apartments at Iowa.

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During the meeting, Mayor Jim Throgmorton said he didn’t have a timetable in mind for considering additional stories for the high-rises.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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