Coralville plans commercial, residential area

Adam Pracht

Iowa City Press-Citizen

November 5, 2004

CORALVILLE -- Parking is a necessity for the $60 million Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, but that doesn't mean visitors would want to look at it.

To keep the look of the area around the planned hotel consistent, the city of Coralville is making preliminary plans to mask the hotel's south parking ramp with commercial and residential areas.

"It's very conceptual at this point in time," City Engineer Dan Holderness said.

Public records on the plan amount to a tentative site plan and one artist's drawing.

City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said the area would be developed by private enterprise. Because the city owns the land and would be able to provide parking space with the garage, he said, it can dictate the size of the buildings as well as the area's use and appearance.

Although no one has bid to develop the area because the plans are so preliminary, Hayworth said he could imagine several businesses that would be good fits, such as restaurants, a copy center, a health club or retail stores.

The initial ground plan calls for two commercial areas with apartments above the stores and one strip of residences with garages below at street level. The plans also show several courtyards and a plaza at the corner of Quarry Road and Edgewater Drive.

Holderness said the plan conforms with the city's original intention of redeveloping the area with a mix of attractions, businesses and residential areas. Masking the parking ramp behind residential and commercial space also means the city would have to do little cosmetic work on the ramp to make it fit the look of the hotel.

Holderness said planning for the ramp area began about six months ago, but there still is much to be done. Holderness said the design for the ramp must be finished before more precise plans for the commercial and residential areas are made.

He said the city plans to begin taking bids on the parking ramp in six months and more fixed plans for the new commercial and residential areas could be created at that point.