Housing shortage in Dubuque leads to restorations - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Housing shortage in Dubuque leads to restorations

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- The need for housing in Dubuque continues to grow as IBM brings more employees to town. And the city is doing its part to help with the problem. Dubuque's assistance program has already helped several developers restore a few buildings downtown. And now round two of assistance could help more developers.

This is the second round of applicants. Five groups received assistance in the first round, including Cathedral Square Lofts on Bluff Street. The city has received nine applications for assistance, totaling $3.2 million dollars. But they only have $2.2 million dollars to share, which means someone will get left out.

Washington Park sits between Locust and Bluff Streets in Dubuque. On one side, the Roshek Building, home to IBM. On the other side. Mary of Angels.

"With our building, the proximity, the size, the historical aspect, it really should be getting some attention," Aiman Al-Qady said.

Al-Qady is working to restore this building at 605 Bluff. The dormitory style building currently provides a low-cost option for nearby employees. But Al-Qady wants to

"Indeed there are a lot of people looking to live downtown so they can walk to work," Economic Development Director, David Heiar said.

The City of Dubuque provides incentives, up to $10,000 per unit, to developers like Al-Qady. Each applicant must meet certain requirements. Including funding from a bank. As well as several structural specifications.

"The challenge for each of the applicants to get back to us to show us that a bank for a private financial commitments in place other than the city money," Heiar said.

But, Al-Qady says he can't get the funding he needs unless the city helps.

"Banks now a days are always asking the property owners and developers not just for incentives like historical ones, they want a lot of money down," Al-Qady said.

However several developers have been successful. Take this project, just a few months ago the developers of Cathedral Square Lofts received assistance for their loft style apartments. David Heiar says of the nine developers who applied for round two of assistance. All nine of them had specific requirements they need to meet. The committee is waiting to hear back from each group before asking the city council for funding.

Being in the Urban Renewal District is a step needed for his project to be approved. A public hearing about adding more Bluff street properties, including Al-Qady's, to the district will be held on July 19th.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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