IWU Mt. Pleasant, LLC (IWU) acquired six buildings on the former Iowa Wesleyan Campus in Mount Pleasant, Iowa on October 17, 2023, consisting of the former dormitories on the east and west sides of the campus, as well as the Science Building and Hershey Hall.
In response to numerous requests from local and regional community leaders, IWU plans to market the dormitories to serve anticipated housing needs for temporary *construction workers in nearby Middletown. While in the very early stages, this use is expected to reduce the strain on area hotels needed for local businesses and residents alike, as well as attract construction workers to the community, replacing at least part of the economic benefit associated with former students at Iowa Wesleyan University.
Chris Ales, project manager and co-owner of IWU Mt. Pleasant, LLC further plans to convert the Science building and/or Hershey Hall to affordable housing. The initial phase of this project consists of approximately 30 apartments for seniors over the age 55 with incomes at or below 60% of the area median income and rents estimated at $5-600 for one-bedroom and $6-700 for two-bedroom apartments. Typical tenants will be retired on social security with a modest pension.
Ales has over 20 years of experience in adapting buildings such as these for use as housing throughout eastern Iowa, many of them award winning developments. 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.
*Previous coverage explaining the need for construction workers for a project.*