Inside the Rise: What these new apartments offer Iowa City’s students

New apartments rise up and offer to elevate the living experience for UI students.


Roman Slabach

RISE apartment complex is seen on Thursday, Sept. 6 in Iowa City.

Mastura Ibnat, News Reporter

After four and a half years of development, Rise at Riverfront Crossings opened its doors on Aug. 15 this year to almost 600 new tenants.

The idea to create Rise Apartments was prompted by a proposal request released by the city almost four years ago, said JJ Smith, the president of CA Student Living and principal of CA Ventures. When St. Patrick’s Church was destroyed by a tornado in 2006, the property was open.

The city’s request aimed to redevelop the 60,000-square-foot site on which the church had been located, Smith said.   

Numerous development firms submitted proposals, ranging from such local companies as CG Hanson and Prairie Sun and national companies Core Spaces, Sherman Associates, and Real Capital Solutions. Out of the six proposals the city received, Smith said, officials selected the CA Ventures proposal.

“CA Ventures was selected, in part, due to the ambitious mix of uses designed to meet several growing needs in Iowa City, including student apartments to meet growing enrollment; a moderately priced, limited service flag hotel; and Class A Office space,” he said.

One of Rise’s key distinguishing factors are the fully furnished student apartments and the amenity package.

The individual apartments include hardwood floors, wireless internet, and a TV in the living room. Penthouse tenants on the 14th floor are provided with additional amenities, such as showerheads with Bluetooth speakers, a SMART TV, and an extra TV in the bedroom.

Rise also offers building amenities free for all tenants to usek, including a pool, a club lounge, and arcade games.

All tenants individually lease the apartments. This is done to avoid financial shortcomings or issues that may arise among roommates.

“As an added bonus, the environmentally friendly building features solar panels on the rooftop and is seeking LEED Silver Certification,” Smith said.

Jackie Buck, the Rise marketing and leasing manager, said approximately 93 percent of the apartments are full.

Though the lease prices reflect the fully furnished and included amenity package, there are more affordable units available to households in a certain income bracket.

“The property also has 10 percent of the units designated as affordable apartments per Iowa City guidelines for households under 80 percent of area median income,” Smith said. “We also made a $1 million contribution to the affordable-housing fund in Iowa City as part of our project-cost contribution.” 

The costs also vary depending on the apartment location and type. Higher floors have view premiums, whereas lower floors may have lower rental costs, Smith said.

Buck said one of the advantages of living at Rise is the benefit students have of having a staff available on the first floor.

UI student Maddie Scott, a Rise tenant, said she has enjoyed living in her apartment so far.

“The reason I chose to live at Rise was because of the ease of signing a lease online, the great amenities, and the fact it was fully furnished,” she said. “Having a staff downstairs that’s always eager to help is a huge plus as well.”

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