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Representatives from Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, Tiffin, Solon, the University of Iowa and Johnson County highlighted major projects underway in the area at the annual Build Johnson County Investor Council April 21. Hosted by the Iowa City Area Development Group, speakers discussed Iowa City's struggle to keep up with residential demand, a status update on the UIHC North Liberty hospital construction, and Tiffin bulding a new Pinseekers golf facility, among other updates.
Residential growth outpacing supplyThe city of Iowa City expects its population will increase by 10,240 people from 2020-2030. But despite a series of student and senior housing projects already or soon-to-be completed, there is concern Iowa City will experience unmet demand and only be able to house 6,300 new residents. The number of dwelling units increased slightly in 2022 from 2021, but still less than before the pandemic, according to Danielle Sitzman, Iowa City development services coordinator. She anticipates 1,000 beds for student housing will be added through projects like the CA Ventures-backed 13-story high-rise at 21 S. Linn St.; a six-story multi-family housing project by DCI Group and Scannell Properties across the street from the Riverside Dairy Queen; a six-story plan called The Hive at 700 S. Dubuque St.; and The 908 Group's 227-unit project. "We're also seeing a strong market for senior oriented housing, which is over 200 new senior independent or assisted living dwelling units, mostly apartments," said Ms. Sitzman. She pointed to the 48.85 acre Hickory Hill development underway, the Monument Hills independent living community on Rochester Ave. and the recently rezoned Western Home Independent Living Services plan with a 32-bed assisted living component as examples of Iowa City addressing senior living.
Tiffin updateLocated at 1515 Andersen Place, builders are starting to go vertical on construction efforts for the new Pinseekers driving range. Owned by Topgolf Callaway Brands, Pinseekers uses Toptracer technology. "This is really going to be eye-catching when driving down I-380," said Tiffin City Administrator Doug Boldt at the meeting. "They have a very strict, intense timeframe in which they want to be ready by Sept. 1. We'll see if that actually happens." Little Clippers Child Development Center is expanding to a larger facility to help meet the needs of Tiffin residents. On its website, the center states there are no available childcare spots and they aren't adding to the waitlist. "Like a lot of smaller towns, we struggle with daycare being a bedroom community," said Mr. Boldt. "It's just one of those areas that we can't quite stay ahead." Another housing development, called Lotus Hill, will become the "high point" of the community at its vertical peak, he said. "There's supposed to be eight buildings," said Mr. Boldt, mentioning there will also be underground parking for Lotus Hill. "You're going to be able to see Kinnick (and) the children's hospital." He added that a few months ago the city moved into its new $2.55 million public works facility. They are hopeful the building will last 30-40 years.
Solon housing updateHome construction is booming in Solon right now. Old Mill Creek along highway 382 is in its fifth and final phase of construction. There are 65 blocks with several "pocket parks" intended for small parts of neighborhoods, said Solon City Administrator Cami Rasmussen. Windmill Estates (which includes a windmill) is also in its final phase, predominantly as a single-family home development. Windmill Estates could become larger if the developer decides to annex more land. Trail Ridge Estates is a 300-unit site that includes access to a dog park and the Hoover Trail. Saddleback Estates is adjacent to Saddleback Ridge Golf Course & Driving Range. It is 36 lots. The city extended the city limits to accomodate the housing development.
- UIHC's North Liberty hospital development is approximately 25% completed, said David Kieft, director of real estate, planning and development. The development includes the inpatient hospital with 11 operating rooms and a community imaging center, a level three emergency department with a pharmacy and administrative offices, a five-story clinic building with more than 90 exam rooms and a sports performance physical therapy clinic.
- North Liberty's civic campus — including a new city hall, police station and fire station — is underway. The city hall is also about 25% complete, said North Liberty City Administrator Ryan Heiar.
- Just south of Solon, Johnson County identified an area in 2018 for a subdivision redevelopment called Spartan Hollow, a 51 lot residential area. JoCo 50 is another newer commercial industrial subdivision lot. Josh Busard, planning and development director, said there is talk this area could have a dealership. It already includes the event center Midnight Gem.
- A contract has been approved for the new, two-story Clear Creek Amana Elementary School. When it opens in a year and a half, it will serve 350 students before eventually serving 680 kids, said Mr. Hayworth.
- Field Day Brewing Company is nearing completion and should open at the end of July. The master brewer said it will be a 15 barrel brewing facility, capable of producing approximately 12,000 pints a day, said Mr. Heiar.
- Johnson County has a 10 MW solar application pending for a new array across 50 acres, said Mr. Busard.
- Broadband support is lacking for the majority of houses in three unincorporated areas of Johnson County, a priority the Johnson County Board of Supervisors is using federal dollars to try to remedy.
- A Silurian groundwater modeling project with the United States Geological Service is helping Johnson County ensure it has sufficient water resources moving forward.
- Coralville has completed a master plan and is putting together cost estimates to improve and redo S.T. Morrison Park, said Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth.
- Working jointly with Iowa City, Hills, Johnson County and the Convention Visitor's Bureau, Coralville is looking to complete its pedal paddle project. It includes a skatepark, new boat ramps and completing the Clear Creek Trail connection to Kent Park, The Gazette reported.