“What Direction Do We Want to Go?” Local Landlords and Rental Property Owners Concerned About Hershey Hall Redevelopment

During the public forum at the City Council meeting on Wednesday evening, a group of landlords and rental property owners, all from this area, voiced their concerns with the future of the Iowa Wesleyan Campus.

Last year, Christopher Ales purchased dormitories on the east and west side of campus, as well as Hershey Hall and the Science Building. He applied for a State Tax credit in April to help fund this project.

Concerns were listed in a letter sent to the Mt. Pleasant City Council, Henry County Board of Supervisors, and Mt. Pleasant Chamber of Commerce. Included are questions about the City and County’s involvement with this project through tax incentives, possible changes in zoning and certificates of occupancy, and the ramifications going forward.

It seems that they are asking for the city to do their due diligence and wants “complete transparency” as to what the city is prepared to “give up to make this development a reality.”

The group then met with the Henry County Supervisors on Thursday morning for further discussion.  According to the group, they were never contacted about the purchasing of these buildings, and they did not even know they were for sale. It was determined that there are multiple apartment units for rent in Mount Pleasant alone, and that they do not believe low-income apartments are the need for Mount Pleasant. Instead, they posed, “decent paying jobs” should be the first step, and single-family homes will then fill the shortage.

Whatever anyone’s thoughts, the application sent in by Hershey LLC to the State of Iowa will be approved or denied in September. If approved, it is likely that this project of low-income apartments in Hershey Hall will go through. If denied, however, the possibility of the Henry County Supervisors rescinding the TIF resolution may be on the cards.

One landlord spoke what many were thinking, “do we want or need low income housing in the center of town?”

Board Chair Greg Moeller encouraged the group of landlords to attend the Iowa Finance Authority meeting in Des Moines to make their thoughts known.

Additional information on this project…

Further Discussion on Repurposing Hershey Hall

Former Iowa Wesleyan Buildings Repurposed to 150+ Apartments