Kingland Systems, which purchased nine Campustown buildings near the end of 2012, plans to knock them all down to make way for a three-story retail and office development.
The Clear Lake software company plans to replace about half the buildings in the Campustown block bordered by Lincoln Way, Welch and Stanton Avenues and Chamberlain Street with taller buildings and wants the city to waive a setback requirement required for buildings above 30 feet. The affected buildings include the businesses along the 2400 block of Lincoln Way and the north half blocks of Welch and Stanton Avenues. (See photo attached.)
That would allow the company to erect tall buildings without having to shrink the building's footprint from the street, according to a City of Ames staff report. The Ames City Council will review the report at its regular meeting Tuesday.
After two seven-story residential and office buildings were erected in Campustown, the City of Ames changed zoning requirements for the area in 2005, saying that buildings higher than 30 feet should be set back 15 feet and set a maximum building height of 115 feet. Kingland Systems is asking to remove the setback for its development plans, promising no residential uses will be permitted.
In a letter to the city, Kingland's CFO Todd Rognes said they hoped to construct a new three-story building on the 2400 block of Lincoln Way that would provide workspace for as many as 400 people and 14,000 square feet of retail space.
Rognes wrote that a set back would increase the cost of their plans “that is proving to be a major impediment for us to proceed.”
Kingland would also lose 5,000 square feet of leasable space, which would in turn spike their lease rate, possibly driving tenants away, the letter said.
City staff are asking for the City Council's direction before further discussing zoning options and if a major change is agreed to, a first reading of an ordinance would come to the council in May.