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Iowa City 20-Story Building Excitement Upsets Co-Op Supporters

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - A decision by the Iowa City council to award a piece of property to a developer planning to build a 20-story building is upsetting some loyal grocery store shoppers.

"The city has disregarded 24 thousand members from all over Eastern Iowa," said Pam Michaud, who frequently shops at New Pioneer Co-Op, 22 S. Van Buren St., in downtown Iowa City.

The building, known as The Chauncey, was one of three finalists for the property. It was the only proposal not to include first floor space for the grocery store, which has been seeking a new location for several years. Instead the Chauncey will include a movie theater and bowling alley.

"We love these mixed use buildings," said Connie Champion, one of five council members who voted in favor of the project. "It's just not my role as a city councilperson to find a place for the Co-Op."

Co-Op General Manager Matt Hartz said it appears the downtown location will remain open "for as long as it lasts."

"Every option is back on the table," he said. "Including adding a third location, but it's all something we need to discuss."

The Co-Op has one other store in Coralville. According to a proposal submitted to the city by Chauncey developer Marc Moen, the Co-Op was offered room in his Plaza Tower project in 2005, but turned down the offer.

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