Towncrest Commercial Area
The Towncrest commercial area, located near the intersection of 1st and Muscatine Avenues, was originally developed in the 1960s with an emphasis on medical offices. When the properties were initially developed, Towncrest was on the edge of the city’s urbanized area, but over time, the area's role has evolved. It is now surrounded by well-connected, walkable neighborhoods with a diverse population. While medical services are still located in the area, Towncrest also provides shopping for surrounding residents, including a grocery store, pharmacies, gas stations and banks.
Over the years, buildings and parking in the older portion of Towncrest have deteriorated, and there has been a continued desire throughout the community to improve the area -- giving it new life and a distinct identity.
Browse the sections below and learn more about the Towncrest Redevelopment project.
The Towncrest Design Plan was approved in November 2010 following resident and business input from the surrounding neighborhoods. Since then, approximately $14 million in improvements have either been made or approved, including comprehensive façade and building renovations. A vacant building and former gas station were also removed. Two new medical offices were built, along with a six-unit residential building and the current construction of a 40-unit apartment building for seniors.
Williams Street was also improved with new paving, lighting, benches and landscaping.
This is a before and after look at the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic as part of the Towncrest Design Plan.
Updates made to William Street as part of the Towncrest Redevelopment Project.
There is still interest among property owners, business owners, and surrounding residents to revitalize Towncrest. Continued revitalization requires an effort by private property owners in partnership with the City. Based on public input, the City designated Towncrest an urban renewal area—this allows the City to offer tax and other financial incentives to encourage appropriate redevelopment in the area.
Working with area businesses, property owners, and residents, the City has formulated a cohesive design plan for the area. The plan includes recommendations for improved streetscape elements, signage, entranceway features, landscaping, and architectural design guidelines for upgrading existing buildings and new structures. A design review overlay zoning district has been adopted to help implement this revitalization plan.
The Design Plan has helped guide the improvements of all the projects initiated after 2010.
1. TIF (Tax Increment Financing)
Tax increment financing, or TIF, is available to finance the construction of some of the necessary public infrastructure improvements within the Towncrest Urban Renewal Area. The City can also make direct grants, loans or rebates for qualifying commercial or residential developments that further the goals of the urban renewal plan and follow the guidelines of the Towncrest Design Plan.
2. CDBG Economic Development Fund (loan program)
Federal Community Development Block Grant funds, or CDBG, are available for businesses creating jobs for people of low-moderate income, or small businesses that are owned by people of low-moderate income.
For more information about financial assistance, please contact Neighborhood Services at 319-356-5230 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.