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Contractors break ground on $56 million project to revitalize Iowa City Ped Mall

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Ground breaking snip

IOWA CITY, Iowa (KWWL) - Contractors, developers and city leaders celebrated the groundbreaking of a $56 million project to modernize and preserve the Iowa City Ped Mall on Wednesday.

The project was approved by the city council in January. The Tailwind Group (developer) is working with Knutson Construction of Iowa and Neumann Monson Architects.

Tailwind has acquired more than 40,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space in the Ped Mall in recent years, from 127 E. College St. west to 109 E. College St. The project will take long, skinny properties (old college bars), cut them in half and bulldoze them to make space for a new 11-story apartment building on the south side.

"The complexities here are immense in that you've got the old in the front and the new in the back and we have to blend them together," Vince Ellison said, general manager of Knutson Construction Iowa.

Several storefronts in the development will be preserved and designated as historic landmarks. The plan is to provide a new home for the Riverside Theatre Company as well as a brewery, restaurant and Revival Clothing.

The project is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022. Ellison says they're trying to minimize construction impacts as much as possible.

"We're doing our best to go out of our way to work with local business and the local community to make sure we coordinate that," Ellison said.