Coralville hoping to redevelop area along Strip near 1st Avenue


A major redevelopment project is in the works for the south side of the Coralville Strip west of Walgreens.

The City Council unanimously approved a preliminary plat and the first consideration of a rezoning ordinance to accommodate the project last week.

The plan would get rid of structures between Walgreens, Midwest One Bank, and the Iowa Lodge. Current structures there include apartment buildings, Tabooleh Mediterranean Buffet, La Lupita Tienda Mexicana, Exotic India and El Dorado Mexican Restaurant. The former location of Taco Johns is among the empty commercial buildings in the area.

The concept plan covers over a half-million square feet on 11 acres. Mixed-use residential and commercial space, restaurants, and several amenities are planned. Building heights would be determined and approved by the developer, the Planning and Zoning Commission, and the Coralville City Council as the project moves forward. All of the new construction would be a foot above the base flood elevation.

Coralville Community Development Director Dave Johnson described the area as it currently stands as auto-dependent with dated strip malls and poor site design. One of the development team members said the goal is to create an eclectic neighborhood.

Mayor Meghann Foster, who doesn’t have a Council vote, expressed concern about the displacement of 34 affordable rental housing units on the current site; however Johnson believes that the community should have no problem accommodating those residents in other affordable units throughout the city.

In other city development news, it looks like the Coralville BP Amoco will be razed and replaced with a Scooter’s drive through and dine-in coffee café. The council unanimously approved a rezoning request last week.