Groundbreaking held for new development in Iowa City Pedestrian Mall

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 5:50 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) -Project partners broke ground on Wednesday for the East College Street Development in the Iowa City Pedestrian Mall.

“The sites a little complex, traffic flows are tricky,” Vince Ellison explained, Vice President & General Manager of Knutson Construction.

Construction in the area is slated to be complete by September 2022. Until then, expect to see lots and lots of work being done on the strip that used to house The Union Bar.

“Where we’re standing right now, you’re going to see an 11 story building go up here in the next few months, we’ll start with foundation work here soon,” Ellison told KCRG-TV9.

With no room to build out, a tower will go up, with more than 100 new student housing units and 10 apartments. The stretch of older buildings will be renovated to include the Riverside Theatre, a brewery, retail space, bars and a restaurant.

Current businesses across the street told TV9 they’re excited for more action to come to their area.

“I’m very excited about the housing because it will bring, obviously draw more people to the Ped Mall,” Yolanda Robinson said, Owner of Burger Haul.

She believes more businesses will only draw more people and said she isn’t worried about potential competition.

“Having nice, other nice restaurants nearby, it draws people and if people aren’t aware of your establishment, they will,” Robinson said.

Tailwind Group is the developer on the project, they’re working with Neumann Monson Architects and Knutson Construction to make it a reality.

Throughout the process, project leaders are making sure to preserve the history of current buildings which are historic landmarks to Iowa City.

“We’re working with our team to make sure that we go through the demolition in as sensitive way as possible to preserve the past,” Ellison explained.

Many have past memories of this particular section of the Ped Mall and are excited about its future.

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