City acknowledges renovated property


As the growth of high-rises and new developments scatter across Iowa City, the historical structure of the city is far from being demolished.

The Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission, Friends of Historic Preservation, and Johnson County Historic Preservation acknowledged several Iowa City home and business owners for upkeep and renovations to their property on Thursday night.

“It’s a yearly celebration and acknowledgement of the care and energy of property owners,” said Ginalie Swaim, the head of the Iowa City Historic Preservation Commission. “It’s a chance to say you got it right, and this is really important.”

Six home property owners were acknowledged, as well as seven commercial property owners. Johnson County officials also acknowledged two properties outside the Iowa City area, Leonard Gough Barn and Sutliff Bridge.

Sarah Brannaman, the board director of the Sutliff Bridge Authority, said the bridge is not just important part of Johnson County’s history, but the state of Iowa’s as well.

“It’s a huge piece of Iowa’s history,” Brannaman said. “Not many were built the way Sutliff was and are still around today. It’s really known nationwide.”

The event, in which 35 percent more owners of historic preservation submitted to the commission, was sponsored by one local business that is receiving its own makeover.

MidWestOne Bank is undergoing renovations at its downtown location. The restoration will bring back original cornice details, replace all windows, and install central air conditioning.

“It has been our corporate image since the building was first established, and it’s important to maintain that,” said Kent Jehle, the executive vice president of MidWestOne Bank.

With conservation being one of the city’s top priorities, he said, the bank’s project is in line with downtown area’s mission.

“We feel like given the architectural history and structure, keeping the image as part of the community is important to keep moving forward,” he said.

The bank is also working on a new structure in the Riverfront Crossings District. The MidWestOne Financial Group will occupy the first three floors of the new office tower of the six-story facility on Clinton Street, with the two remaining floors for office space, which will be leased or put up for sale. The sixth floor will serve as a reception and lounge area for the tenants.

Marc Moen, a local developer, also took on a $1.75 million project to restore the lot at 118 E. College St. for a multiuse building. The building now houses FilmScene as well as the Velvet Coat.

“One of the beauties is the historic nature of the Downtown District, and to maintain the integrity of downtown,” said Moen, the owner of Moen Group. “The contemporary arch and the history attract a wide variety of people.”

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