Towncrest Commercial Area

The Towncrest commercial area, located near the intersection of 1st Avenue and Muscatine Avenue, was originally developed in the 1960s with an emphasis on medical offices. Towncrest’s role within the city has evolved over the past several decades.  When the properties were initially developed, Towncrest was on the edge of the city’s urbanized area.  It is now surrounded by well-connected, walkable neighborhoods with a diverse population. While medical offices and services are still located in the area, Towncrest also provides for the everyday shopping needs of surrounding residents, and includes a grocery store, several pharmacies, gas stations, banks and other services. However, over the years, buildings and parking areas in the older portion of Towncrest have deteriorated, and there is now desire in the community to improve the area, giving it new life and a distinct identity. 

Revitalization Efforts

There is a great deal of interest on the part of property owners, business owners, and surrounding residents to revitalize Towncrest. Revitalization will require an effort on the part of private property owners in partnership with the City.  Based on public input, the City has 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 new buildings and for upgrading existing buildings. A design review overlay zoning district has been adopted to help implement this revitalization plan.

Financial Assistance

Tax increment financing is available to finance the construction of some of the necessary public infrastructure improvements within the Towncrest Urban Renewal Area.  In addition, the City may 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 Manual. 

CDBG Economic Development Fund (loan program)

Federal Community Development Block Grant funds (CDBG) are available for businesses creating jobs for low-moderate income persons or small businesses that are owned by low-moderate income persons.

For more information about financial assistance, please contact Neighborhood Services at 319.356.5230 or email neighborhoods@iowa-city.org