University partnership key to Campustown success

LANE4 Property Group is a development company hired by the City of Ames to devise an implement a plan to redevelop Campustown into a more vibrant and attractive commercial district serving the Iowa State University community. Campustown has great potential as illustrated during a public meeting in the MU on Sept. 29, where LANE4 presented a preliminary concept of what the neighborhood could become.

Major components proposed include bringing back a small grocery or drugstore, a small hotel – which would take the place of the existing MU Hotel, office space (much of which will be leased by ISU) to increase daytime activity, a greater variety of dinning options, and a unique movie theater that could double as lecture hall space for the university. While specifics are yet to be determined, the redevelopment project would likely replace a majority of the existing buildings, which I have some reservations about. However, if certain historic and architecturally significant buildings can be restored and integrated, it is certainly worth some demolition of less critical buildings. Campustown redevelopment will occur in phases over time, but some construction could begin within a year according to LANE4.

A letter in the October 7th Iowa State Daily expressed concern over university offices and lecture facilities locating in Campustown, so I wrote a response explaining why it is critical for the university to be involved. Certain new uses and business likely could not be sustained without the partnerships that are being proposed. You can read my letter in the Iowa State Daily here.

> Iowa State Daily: Opinion – University partnership key to Campustown success
> LANE4 Property Group

2 Comments

  1. So, why the push for so much redevelopment and replacing buildings? Seems like it would lose a lot of it’s “charm” by getting rid of many of the existing structures.

    Has it really degraded that much in the last 8-10 years? When I was there it always seemed like a pretty vibrant, active area.

  2. Brady Dorman

    October 9, 2010 at 12:48 am

    I wouldn’t say it has degraded or changed much in the past 10 years, there is just a lot of potential for it to be something greater and bring back certain businesses and services – like a movie theater and a grocery store / drug store – that were once there. “Back in the day” there was a great diversity of businesses serving the ISU community, compared to today where it is basically just bars and a couple of quick-food places. It will always be an active place at night with the concentration of bars, but there is little else to do there. Also go to Welch on a Sunday afternoon or sometimes even weekdays and it can seem pretty much dead.

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