Pentacrest Gardens Getting Upgrade

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- What's now just a few three story buildings may one day tower 15 stories above Iowa City, but the city council has a lot of questions first.

The redevelopment is planned for the Pentacrest Garden Apartments, that's the student housing directly in front of the Old Capitol Mall.

Developers behind the project have high hopes.

"It's going to provide a lot of great amenities within the building itself, we're going to have some green areas on the roof and on the setback terrace potentially," said Project Manager Rob Decker.

"There could be two or more of anywhere from 11 to 14 stories in height on either side," said Iowa City Mayor Jim Throgmorton.

Or as high as 15 stories. That uncertainty is one reason Throgmorton says he needs more information first.

"We want to understand what the developer actually has in mind," said Throgmorton.

A major part of the plan would be to take out the gates and open up this area as a walkway to students to the Burlington and Capitol Street intersection. It's still too early to tell if it'll just be a walkway or a street. Other city council members pointed out that a building that high could block the Voxman Music Building, which only sits about five stories. Project leaders said that's not the case.

"Especially with the topography that drops off in a pretty extreme fashion, the height of the building is going to be swallowed up, if you will pretty quickly as we head down the grade," said Decker.

Decker said it will bring in exactly what the city needs.

"It will bring a lot of high value to the area, it will provide a lot of needed housing in the Riverfront Crossings southbound downtown sub district which is intended to pull that density down here," said Decker.

The mayor told TV-9 there's still a lot of unanswered questions.

"This will be a major new development. If the public has specific views that they want to express, they should come to our city council meeting, learn what the developer has in mind and listen to questions that we ask," said Throgmorton.

Tuesday's city council meeting is scheduled for 7pm at Emily J. Harvat Hall. If approved, leaders say it could still be about a year before they break ground.