New rentals for College Hill

SYDNEY HAUER, Executive Editor | [email protected]

CV Properties II, a privately owned company in Cedar Falls, released a memorandum on Feb. 4 proposing to demolish a multi-family dwelling located at 917 W 23rd Street, next to University Book & Supply.

The memorandum proposed the construction of a new three-story building on the site that would be called Urban Flats.

This new property would feature two commercial rental spots on the main floor and 16 apartments for rent on each story. The building, which was constructed in 1905, is currently vacant.

“The plan is to provide some new living areas for college students that are right across the street from the college,” said Ryan Kreiner of CV Properties II. “The [current house] that is there is starting to deteriorate rapidly, and we were contemplating the idea of either fixing that one up or thinking of a new idea to kind of spruce up the Hill area.”

The house, as it currently stands, would require extensive repairs, which prompted Kreiner to start from scratch on the property.

Kreiner said CV Properties are communicating with Habitat for Humanity about preserving parts of the house.

“There are some really great features of the house, and it would actually hurt us to say yes to tearing it down […] But seeing pieces of it go to a good cause made it seem a little bit better,” Kreiner said.

Melodie Anstey, freshman studio art major, said she likes the idea, but that the current dwelling should be fixed up instead of being torn down if it has historical value.

“I was walking by earlier today, and I thought it’s kind of a big waste of space on the Hill right now,” Anstey said. “The Hill is already small enough, and I think we don’t have room for just this vacant building. There could be a better use for the spot.”

Tanner Westberg, coordinator at the College Hill Partnership, a non-profit organization that specializes in promoting and revitalizing the College Hill area, said plans are in place to begin the project.

“It was approved by the City of Cedar Falls planning and zoning committee, as well as the city council,” Westberg said. “From our understanding, the work on the project will begin this summer, with the hopes of a 2017 opening.”

Westberg said that the College Hill Partnership strongly supports this kind of development and compared the project to the construction that took place in 2014 at the corner of College St. and 21st St. – the building that houses Domino’s Pizza and apartments above.

“The project was crucial in improving the look of the ‘lower Hill’ and this project will have a similar impact on the top of the Hill,” Westberg said.

Some students showed support in the project and even voiced interest in living in the new apartments that would be located on the property.

“My friend lived in the [current] house, and I visited her there quite a few times. It was very dilapidated and it seemed unsafe,” said Meredith Miller, sophomore public relations major.

Miller went on to say that she would possibly be interested in living there because it is close to Lang Hall, where most of her classes are located.

“I think it’s a great idea. The building is an eyesore,” said Sam Shayer, junior electronic media major. He cited the benefits of bringing in two new businesses to College Hill.

Kreiner addressed the opposition from the community about college students moving into established, settled residential neighborhoods.

“Hopefully, this will leave some of that pressure out of the established neighborhoods and provide good living for college students that is right next to campus,” Kreiner said. He hopes that the project will help significantly liven up and bring a new look to College Hill.