Downtown Waterloo looks to add more housing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Downtown Waterloo looks to add more housing

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A major new housing development could soon take shape in downtown Waterloo.  Dolly James LLC, operated by Jim Sulentic and Brent Dahlstrom, is planning to build a $6 million 72-unit condo complex at 7th and Sycamore Streets.

It's just the latest in a string of developments planned for downtown Waterloo.  The River Loop Expo and Public Market are up and running.  The riverfront amphitheater is taking shape.  Plans for a sports complex are well underway.  Bringing more housing downtown is a major piece of those downtown revitalization efforts as part of the city's master plan.

John Hayes loves living in downtown Waterloo.

"A lot of people think it might be a little eccentric.  But I think, you know, in other big cities it's definitely a way of life no matter what.  And I think Waterloo is just coming around the corner with that.  It's definitely getting popular and quick," said Hayes.

Hayes says he feels safe, despite the long-standing stigma of high-crime in the area.  On the down side, he admits parking can be an issue living downtown.  But overall, Hayes finds what the area offers justifies the higher price tag.

"It's definitely entertaining.  There's always Friday'Loos in the park.  Irish Fest is a blast.  You know, there's so many things going on down here all the time," said Hayes.

It's that positive outlook the city hopes will drive more interest in downtown housing.  The space behind the UNI-CUE building at 7th and Sycamore could soon be developed with six 12-unit condo buildings, renting for around $900-1100 a month.

"One reason the downtown master plan wants residential is so you have more people downtown, not only coming down here but living downtown to utilize the sports complex and go shopping at the Public Market," said Noel Anderson, Waterloo Planning & Zoning.

There's every reason to think the new downtown housing will be filled up.  The building John Hayes calls home was fully rented before renovations were even completed.  Having more residents in the area might just help Waterloo continue revitalizing the downtown.

The city will be offering the condo site to the developers for $1 and give tax incentives for 10 years.  Those incentives will be voted on at Monday's city council meeting.

The city believes downtown living is becoming more attractive, now that grocery shopping is available at the public market, and a CVS pharmacy could be built near Immanuel Lutheran on Franklin Street.

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