Former Iowa Wesleyan Buildings Repurposed to 150+ Apartments

Christopher Ales met with the Henry County Supervisors on Thursday regarding Iowa Wesleyan Redevelopment. Mr. Ales is part of an ownership group that purchased 6 buildings on the former campus in October, consisting of the dormitories on the east and west side of the campus, as well as the Science Building and Hershey Hall.

At the meeting, he laid out his vision and timeline for the buildings. The first of the buildings to be used would be the Nemitz Suites, in which he hopes they could be ready for affordable housing by the end of this year. He estimates 8 apartments could fit inside the building.

Hershey Hall would prove to be a large task, with a hopeful 28 apartments as part of an 8.6-million-dollar project. These apartments would range from 2 to 3 bedrooms in a price range of $760-860 currently. Ales would like to apply for tax credits in April and start the construction process this time next year for a one-year project.

The Science Building is next on the agenda, with 28 apartments for seniors, priced at $650-750 a month for 1-2 bed apartments.

Finally, the dormitories would each house around 50 apartments, but Ales mentioned how he has not “run the models yet.” He did say that he would like to put them to use as soon as possible, as temporary construction housing for those who are working in Middletown as construction workers for the Ammunition Plant.

There are questions that spring to mind with this project, such as how will these apartments be funded? Ales plans to apply for a state tax credit which would provide 6.7 million dollars. They would find out if they are a recipient of this credit in September 2024. After purchasing the buildings outright, Ales made it clear that he will try again next year to receive this credit if they are not approved in 2024.

TIF was discussed as a means of funding the rest of the project. This allows local governments to use property taxes to fund development projects. Nothing is official on that front at this moment.

In a report from November, Ales notes urban revitalization projects like these avoid blight otherwise associated with idled buildings and represent an efficient utilization of community resources.  While preserving historic properties, they also provide needed affordable housing for seniors, which frees up entry level housing for the local workforce and utilizes existing public infrastructure which minimizes public costs.

Middletown Ammunition Plant Expansion

Middletown Ammunition Plant Expansion