Talk of Iowa City high-rises, art museum downtown

July 16, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY – You may remember that there was a lot of talk a couple of years ago about building up in downtown Iowa City.

As I reported today, there has been little visible action on some proposed high-rise building projects since then, primarily because of the downturn in the economy.

That may be changing. The guys from Three Bulls development company say they hope to start construction next spring on a 10-story building with commercial, office and residential space.

Developer Marc Moen has a couple of ideas for high-rises, too. One is at the site of the Wells Fargo building on the Ped Mall. Moen said the bank has a few more years on its lease, but he wants to find a new home for it.

The other site is the northeast corner of Clinton and Burlington streets. Moen said he’s considering his options there.

That includes his continued interest in the University of Iowa art museum being part of his project. That’s an idea that generated some buzz, and controversy, a couple of years ago before fading away. But Moen said with the UI looking for a new home for the museum after it was damaged in last year’s flood, he thought it was a possibility.

That’s his opinion, though, and he said he needs to talk with UI officials about it. If the university is interested, Moen said he’d hold off on developing the corner. If they’re not, he could move forward sooner.

The UI also is considering relocating Hancher Auditorium, which also was damaged in the flood, to the downtown area. Moen said that would provide a big boost to the area and aid the prospects of the high-rise projects, all of which are proposed for just a block from the possible Hancher site.

“That would be huge, just fantastic,” he said.

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IC bar fined for serving minor

June 3, 2009

By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY – A judge on Wednesday ordered a downtown Iowa City bar to pay a $500 fine for selling alcohol to a minor.

The fine is for a first offense by Studio 13, located at 13 S. Linn St., for an incident from last October.

During a compliance check set up by the Iowa City Police Department, a Studio 13 doorman gave a 20-year-old man a bracelet signifying he was 21 or older and a bartender served him a beer, according to documents on the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division that can be seen here.

The bar can appeal the decision.

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Sheraton project moves forward

May 27, 2009
By Gregg Hennigan

IOWA CITY — The popular walkway through the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel is a step closer to being closed at night.

The three-member City Council Economic Development Committee voted unanimously Wednesday in support of a plan to enhance an exterior walkway west of the downtown hotel that would replace the one inside.

The full council will have the final say and is expected to take up the matter June 16. If the council gives it’s approval, it is expected the exterior walkway will be finished by the time students return in August, said Wendy Ford, the city’s economic development coordinator.

If that happens, then the public easement through the hotel’s lobby will be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to everyone except hotel employees and guests.

See the earlier post below for more background on the issue. Also, here are a couple of images of the walkway, courtesy of Neumann Monson Architects, via the city. The first shows the walkway as it is now. The next couple are renderings of what it would look like.

Now

Now

After

After

Night view from south

Night view from south