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article imageIowa City area continues to grow with new housing and business development

By Preston Moore     Dec 11, 2007 in Business
A town of about 1,500 is beginning a project that includes condominiums with over 400 residential units, space for restaurants, gas stations, a 10 acre pond, a city park, walking trails, a hotel with a water park, and a 250,000 square foot outlet mall.
A new development in Tiffin, IA, which includes an outlet mall, hotel, restaurants and housing, will nearly double the town’s population, create new jobs and bridge the already small gap between the town and the nearby city of Coralville.
Iowa City currently has 2 malls in the immediate area (Coral Ridge Mall and Sycamore Mall) and is within 30 minutes of the only outlet mall in Iowa (Tanger Outlet Center in Williamsburg). However, the groundbreaking of a new development just ten miles west of UI might bring new shoppers and tourists to the greater Iowa City area.
Regency High Development Corp., Skogman Commercial Group, and Kinseth Hospitality Companies, all based in the Cedar Rapids area, are working together on a 202 acre project known as “The Villages of Tiffin” and will begin construction on the development . The project includes condominiums with over 400 residential units, space for restaurants, gas stations, a 10 acre pond, a city park, walking trails, a hotel with a water park, and a 250,000 square foot outlet mall.
“As of now, we have over 30 letters of intent from nationally known companies for the mall,” said Darryl High, of Regency. “The first condos will be finished next summer and the first stores will be open late in 2009.” High also said that the names of the companies will be released once agreements have been finalized.
Other than Tanger, there are no outlet malls in the state of Iowa. High says that because of Tiffin’s location near the intersection of I-80 and I-380 there are no worries of competition from Tanger Outlet Mall, located just 21 miles west of the planned location. The development is planned to be built directly off the interstate 80 exit at Ireland Dr. in Tiffin.
According to www.villagesoftiffin.com, an estimated 35,000 vehicles travel past Tiffin each day on interstate 80 and millions of visitors come to the area every year to see UI sporting events, visit the new casino in Riverside, IA, and tour the Amana Colonies.
Royce Phillips, Tiffin’s newly elected mayor, says that he is eager to see the project begin. “We need the development. Tiffin needs things to do here in town and this is certainly going to help.”
Phillips also said that the town has a lot of work to do before the development is complete, including the building a new water tower for the new area of town, several street improvement projects, a new recreational center and several projects focused around the new fire house.
“We have several things on the horizon and it might get pretty exciting,” said Phillips.
Some residents are concerned that the new development may cause negative outcomes as well. “The one thing that I am concerned with is the possibility that rent and property tax in the area will skyrocket once the development is finished,” said Justin Glasgow, a UI medical student and resident of Tiffin. Median rent in Tiffin, at the time of the 2000 Census, was $465. Monthly homeowner costs, for people with mortgages, were $1,012.
With the addition of at least 400 residential units in Tiffin, the population could see a substantial amount of growth in the coming years. The average family size in Tiffin is 2.75 people. While somewhat unlikely because the residential units are condominiums, the large addition of residences could, potentially, almost double the population, currently around 1,500. The building of an outlet mall, restaurants and a hotel would also create new jobs within the community. According to the 2000 census, the average commute for residents of Tiffin is 18 minutes.
Theresa Phillips, site manager of Tanger Outlet Mall, said that, even with closeness of the two outlet malls, she isn’t too worried about competition. “It’s true that they aren’t mentioning any names, but it’s not very likely that a tenant we have here in Tanger would locate themselves just 21 miles away. At this point, we’re just watching, listening and reading about what’s going on there.”
Nobody from Coral Ridge Mall responded to requests for a statement about the development.
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