IOWA CITY – A development team wants to construct a multistory building with a movie theater, bowling lanes and gallery space on the eastern edge of downtown Iowa City.
The catch is that several other groups have ideas for the same spot on city-owned land at the northeast corner of the intersection of College and Gilbert streets, and city officials are currently reviewing the proposals in anticipation of picking one of them.
The Chauncey LLC, though, went public with its plans Thursday when the non-profit organization that would run the theater issued a news release.
Steven Rohrbach, who is the primary contact for the development team and whose Iowa City-based Rohrbach Associates architecture firm designed the project, declined to discuss specifics like size and cost, saying what has been done is just a concept that could change.
But a rendering that was released shows a building that appears to have at least 18 floors. Nearby Plaza Towers is 14 stories and approaches the height restrictions set on downtown buildings because of flight paths for the Iowa City Municipal Airport.
The city last week received 10 responses to its request for proposals to develop the property at College and Gilbert streets. One proposal dropped out Thursday, leaving nine.
The city may release the proposals as early as Friday, according to transportation planner John Yapp.
New Pioneer Co-op also has expressed interest in relocating to the site.
The property has been mostly vacant for years and previously was home to a bus depot, sporting goods store and automobile repair shop.
For the past couple of years, city officials have spoken of their desire to redevelop parts of downtown. For this property, the city sought proposals for an urban building with commercial, hotel, office or residential units.
Rohrbach said with the cinema and bowling lanes, his project would bring amenities lacking downtown.
“We’re real excited about these new elements and new ideas,” he said.
The Chauncey project calls for two movie screens run by FilmScene. The organization wants to show primarily new independent, documentary and foreign films. It also would offer a food and drink menu.
FilmScene plans to open a single-screen theater at a temporary location on the Pedestrian Mall next year.
The screens in The Chauncey would be on the ground floor of a building the news release calls an “an arts and entertainment destination that will include a café, twelve bowling lanes, and gallery space for art and sculpture.”
Rohrbach said his firm also could relocate its offices there.
He said the limited liability company behind the project is made up of local investors, whom he declined to name.