Iowa City Council approves Forest View rezoning

THE GAZETTE — Construction on the proposed Forest View development moved closer to reality Tuesday night.

The Iowa City Council voted 6-0 to approve the third and final vote for rezoning 73 acres near Interstate 80 and N Dubuque Street.

The proposed Forest View development will feature 57 single-family homes, more than 280 multifamily residential units, a senior housing community, two hotel pads, 30,000 square feet of commercial space and 60,000 square feet of office space.

The development requires displacing the tenants of the Forest View Mobile Home Court, who under an agreement would be able to relocate into nearby manufactured homes. During first consideration of the rezoning request, City Council members praised how the developer — Des Moines-based Blackbird Investments and the mobile home park owners — collaborated with the tenants to come to a resolution.

In a news release, Blackbird said Wednesday it is gearing toward beginning construction on the $200 million project in 2020.

Iowa City Manager Geoff Fruin said the development still has “a few legislative steps” to clear before construction can begin. The council must first approve the project’s affordable housing agreement, the preliminary and final platting for the development and tax increment financing for the construction of Forest View Drive and the extension of Algonquin Road.

“That process is going to take several months,” Fruin said. “By the time they get those three things done, you’re probably looking at the fall. It doesn’t surprise me they would plan to start construction next year.”

The city has identified the Forest View development has a major flood mitigation project since it will offer secondary access to the Peninsula neighborhood. Now, the Peninsula neighborhood can be reached only via Foster Road, which flooded in 2008 and cut off access for residents.

Blackbird said Wednesday the project will be multi-phased and likely take five to seven years to complete.