Weathering a contentious approval process, Plaza Towers diversified downtown’s demographics and introduced a synergistic mix of new uses when Iowa City’s downtown was regressing into a “campus town” and losing its role as the community’s commercial and cultural center. To support the permanent resident population, the project interwove a complex program in collaboration with a local hotelier, a gym operator, holistic healing practitioners, a grocer, and the adjacent public library.
Efficient use of materials and building systems enabled the project to meet a $126/sf first cost that could be supported by a proforma. Plaza Towers opened fully occupied and has been since. The grocery store, restaurant, office space, and hotel add vitality to downtown. The project is a community gathering place, integrating an active adult population into downtown’s fabric while nearly tripling the Central Business District’s tax base and embedding infrastructure to support and catalyze local investment.
Iowa City, Iowa
2006 AIA Iowa Design Award