• New active seniors complex on track for UI-owned land
• Upscale tavern coming to new stretch of Tower Terrace
• Jennifer Green named CFO of Knutson Construction
Hupy and Abraham relocate law office to CR MedQuarter
Study: Americans prefer real estate over stock market
• Corridor events, KCRG-TV9 headlines and First Alert Forecast
New active seniors complex on track for UI-owned land
The James at Melrose, a 116-unit active senior development proposed for the site of the former University of Iowa Athletic Club, inched closer to reality Tuesday night after a pair of votes taken by the Iowa City Council.

Despite several defections and some heated rhetoric from the public about the city’s annexation policy and commitment to affordable housing, the council voted 5-2 to absorb and 4-3 to rezone a UI-owned tract at 1360 Melrose Ave. The actions clear the way for developer Build to Suit and property managers Newbury Living to move forward with construction of a four-story senior housing complex on the property located adjacent to Finkbine Golf Course along the Iowa City-University Heights border. Developers plan to lease the land from the university on a long-term basis.

The vote to annex more than three acres of University Heights property was not without controversy.

Because the 6.12-acre site tract straddles two jurisdictions, Iowa City staff has negotiated a so-called “28E agreement” with University Heights that conditions the deal on a tax revenue sharing agreement that will see revenue split 53-47 in Iowa City’s favor over the agreement’s first 40 years and 50-50 thereafter. But several members of the public, including Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition Director Sara Barron, questioned why developers were not being held to the city’s formal annexation policy, which requires at least 10% of units in annexed areas to be set aside for affordable housing.

"I just wanted to take an opportunity to note that the argument 'developers won't like it if we enforce our affordable housing policies' can be made literally every single time you have a proposed development before you," Ms. Barron said, noting the same argument was made during discussion of the Carson Farms project, a large residential development that was put off indefinitely early this year due to thorny annexation questions. "Did you really come prepared to ask the questions that you needed to ask in order to further the city's goals ... and did you make a decision that really reflected the spirit of the discussions you've had about affordable housing? I feel disappointed tonight to say that my answer to those questions is no."

City staff said that policy was intended to deal with absorbing undeveloped areas in the county “fringe,” arguing this annexation amounted to a redrawing of municipal lines in an already urbanized area. And, they added, if Iowa City was not willing to annex the portion of the property outside its city limits, University Heights most likely would be willing to do the reverse.

"Are we potentially missing an opportunity here because we didn't think about this type of situation? Yes we are," said council member Laura Bergus before casting her vote in favor of annexation. "But I don't think it's worth losing the whole project and what that entails."

According to developers, units at The James would range from about 750-2,000 square feet and rent for about $2 per square foot, or between $1,500 and $4,000 monthly. The project, aimed at mid- to upper-income people in the latter stages of their careers and near retirement age, includes 263 parking spaces, to be located both underneath the building and on a surface lot behind the building. It would not include a restaurant of its own, although it would have a lounge area where food could be catered and access to the Finkbine Golf Course clubhouse restaurant and bar.

The development would be accessed from Melrose Avenue through a drive leading directly to the surface parking lot behind the building, with limited guest parking and deliveries accessible off Finkbine Commuter Drive.

“This is a unique development on vacant land owned by the University of Iowa that does not currently generate any tax revenue for the community,” MMS Consultants said in a memo detailing the project, noting the property is located at an important gateway to the university and that development plans, site plans and architectural renderings had already been extensively vetted and approved by the UI, which owns the land. “The buildings and improvements developed on the site will be assessed and create new tax base for the community.”

IMAGE: A rendering of the main entrance to The James at Melrose, a 116-unit active senior living project proposed for UI-owned land along the Iowa City-University Heights border. CREDIT ASK STUDIO
Upscale tavern coming to new stretch of Tower Terrace
A new-to-the-Corridor restaurant concept is coming this summer to Marion’s developing Tower Terrace Road stretch between Alburnett Road and 10th Street. 

Barrel House, an upscale tavern, will be the latest addition to the residential and neighborhood and commercial area that has recently seen completion of a 75,000-square-foot YMCA and will be home to the city’s currently-under-construction 20,000-square-foot fire station headquarters.

Founded by Jimmy Holt in 2011, Barrel House has two Davenport locations and one in Dubuque. The restaurant offers signature sauces, burgers and fries, traditional tavern favorites with "an upscale twist" and a dedication to providing “food that lifts your spirits.” Also on the menu are seasonal and specialty cocktails and an impressive selection of local beers on tap.
“I’m thrilled to bring our warm, fun and inviting 'taking care of people' concept to Marion,” Mr. Holt said in a release. “We look forward to getting to know our patrons and providing them with excellent food, including our award-winning gourmet burgers.” 

Barrel House will occupy 4,267 square feet on the east end of an existing first-generation retail/office building at 295 Tower Terrace Road. Up to 4,692 square feet of space remains available for lease in this 10,000-square-foot building and is listed by Angie Glick-Martin of GLD Commercial. 

Adam Gibbs, also of GLD Commercial, assisted the restaurant in securing their new location.

“Barrel House will be a wonderful addition to Marion and brings a much-needed amenity to this growing area,” Mr. Gibbs said. “There are 3,000 households within a one-mile radius, in addition to the fact Linn Mar’s high school, a middle school and two elementary schools are within walking distance.” 

Ultimately, Tower Terrace Road will connect Interstate 380 in Hiawatha to Highway 13 in Marion with upwards of 20,000 cars traveling this route daily. The completed stretch in Marion is already home to professional businesses including Edward Jones, The Esco Group, several medical practices and more.

PHOTO: Barrel House restaurant is coming to the east end of an existing first-generation retail/office building at 295 Tower Terrace Road in Marion. CREDIT GLD COMMERCIAL
Jennifer Green named CFO of Knutson Construction
Knutson Construction has announced Jennifer Green as its new chief financial officer.

Ms. Green will be based out of the company's Minneapolis office while working with the team across all of their offices in Minneapolis, Rochester and Mankato, Minnesota, as well as in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

“Jennifer brings deep understanding of the construction industry that will continue to drive Knutson into the future,” says James Benning, president of Knutson Construction, in a release. “Her focus will be defining and reporting on key business metrics and performance indicators to streamline our business operations and serve our customers.”

Ms. Green comes to Knutson with more than two decades experience working in accounting and finance within the construction industry. She got her start in the industry in 1999 at Pepper Construction in Barrington, Illinois, where she held various roles in the accounting function including CFO. She also spent time working with information strategy and technology services as chief knowledge and information officer where she was responsible for uniting Pepper’s business information systems and strategy, including a company-wide transition to CMiC, an industry enterprise software.

Following her time at Pepper, Green joined Jordan Foster Construction in El Paso, Texas, where she spent four years as CFO. Her most recent role was CFO of Amteck Construction in Lexington, Kentucky.

Ms. Green holds a degree in accounting from Arkansas State University and an MBA from Northern Illinois University.

“I am looking forward to being part of a strong and growing company where I can engage with an energetic team to help drive business forward," Ms. Green said. "In addition, Knutson’s company values closely align with my own.”
Hupy and Abraham relocate law office to CR MedQuarter
The law firm of Hupy and Abraham, S.C., P.C., which describes itself as "one of the leading personal injury law firms in the Midwest," has announced the relocation of its Cedar Rapids office.

Formerly located at 415 12th Ave. SE, the new office will be located within the MedQuarter district to better serve its clients.

Hupy and Abraham handles personal injury cases, including car and motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, dog bites and trucking accidents. The firm has collected more than $1 billion for thousands of clients over the years.

“This is a great move for us,” Managing Partner Jason Abraham said in a release. “With a shift to the MedQuarter district, we are situated in a much more accessible location where we can continue to serve as many clients as possible.”

The new Cedar Rapids office is located at 1233 First Ave. SE, Suite C, and will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Firm headquarters will remain in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Study: Americans prefer real estate over stock market
Which is the better investment, owning a home or owning stocks? If you ask most Americans, chances are they prefer the former., citing a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, found 90% of respondents preferred owning their primary residence rather than investing in the stock market. A majority of survey-takers also favored the idea of being a landlord to purchasing stocks, with more than 50% of the participating households preferring to own a rental property.

The most common reasons people cited in choosing housing over stocks seemed to be about comfort and stability, rather than seeking a better return. The most commonly-selected responses were that the home was their “desired living environment” and “provides stability” and that house prices were “less volatile.”

Research has shown that residential real-estate has acted as a strong hedge in most bear markets, with the notable exception of the Great Recession. The early days of the pandemic is a prime example: The S&P 500 index lost over 20% in the first quarter, while the Case-Shiller National Home Price Index increased 1.4%.

Americans were more likely to cite higher housing returns in 2021 than in the year prior, likely a reflection of the incredibly fast pace of home price appreciation nationwide.

But people’s attitudes toward the housing market have shifted over the course of the pandemic, the researchers found. “The preference for housing dipped in October 2020 and returned back to the pre-COVID level by February 2021,” the study’s authors noted.

That shift in preferences away from housing wasn’t driven by concerns about home prices. Some Americans expressed more concern about the risk of vacant rental units, while concerns about being able to make mortgage payments may have had an effect on people’s predilection toward homeownership.

People’s inclination toward owning a home may also be a reflection of their gender or education. Women were more likely to prefer housing than men, and non-college graduates opted for homeownership more often than those with college diplomas.
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Corridor Stocks
Short Term Event Planner
April 8
PMI Project Management Education Summit, by Project Management Institute Eastern Iowa, 7:30 a.m., online. Members will have an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with students in Kirkwood Community College’s Project Management classes. Free. To register, visit

Cash Flow for Small Business, by SCORE of East Central Iowa, 11 a.m., online. The workshop will cover ways to define your cash flow and how to manage it. Free. To register, visit

April 13
Smart Series: 7 Tips to Ride the Digital Revolution, by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, 2-3 p.m., online. Learn how to create the most effective online communication strategy for your business with Adam Engel, owner and CEO of Running Robots. Free. To register, visit

The Art of Making & Breaking Habits, by Iowa City Area Business Partnership, noon, online. Learn how to make new habits to build a strong foundation for lasting lifestyle change. Free. To register, visit
Headlines from KCRG-TV9
These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9 
The University of Iowa Athletics Department announced today it is ending the Hawkeye Express passenger train experience. The university said the decision was made due to potential continued social distancing measures, the need for equipment upgrades and increases in operating expenses. “The Hawkeye Express has been a wonderful part of our Hawkeye football gameday experience,” Matt Henderson, UI senior associate athletics director, said in a news release. “While it was a difficult decision to make, we all agree it is the right decision. This experience would not have occurred without the Sabin family and their Iowa Northern Railway Company.” The university said an average of 3,700 fans took the 10-minute train ride from Coralville to Kinnick Stadium each gameday during the 2019 football season. Read the full story here.

The TSA screened a record six million people at airports over the Easter holiday weekend.
This comes as the CDC said fully vaccinated people can travel. But as travel ramps up, airlines with the Eastern Iowa Airport say they need to hire more staff. Last year at this time, most airlines were looking to layoff employees rather than hire. But like the national trend, the Eastern Iowa Airport is seeing an increase in passengers, which generates the need for more employees. Because of demand, airlines that serve the airport reached out for help to hire. The airport serves American, United, Delta, Frontier and Allegiant, who are all looking to add employees. Now the Eastern Iowa Airport will host a job fair on April 13. It will take place at the airport’s administration building from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pam Hinmann said she’s excited to hire new faces after a tough past year. “Travel is increasing,” she said. “So you know, in order to accommodate people’s needs and to provide the best customer experience, you know that’s why they reached out and said can you help us. Yes, we want to help you.” Hinmann said the last daily passenger count on March 20 showed a jump in passengers, with around 1,400 people a day. Three weeks prior, she says there was less than 400 passengers a day.

These news items are provided by KCRG-TV9
Your KCRG-TV9 First Alert Forecast
Scattered showers and storm chances increase by the afternoon and evening. Highs in the upper 60s. Showers linger into Thursday and Friday as temperatures fall into the upper 50s. Our pattern dries out for the weekend with more seasonal temperatures.