By Azzah Nasraddin, Iowa City
I am writing in reference to the Iowa City Council’s consideration of rezoning Gilbert and Prentiss Street for the proposed eight-story building by Alabama-based group Capstone Collegiate Communities.
Iowa City is in dire need of more affordable housing complexes. Luxury and fully furnished student housing complexes should be the last item on the priority list for rezoning and development. As Iowa City Councilwoman Mazahir Salih said, “I really care about the affordable housing part … But what I’m seeing, nothing there will be affordable.”
Around this time approximately two years ago, residents at Rose Oaks apartment complex were given as little as two-week notices that their leases would not be renewable, despite management telling them it would. This came after Minnesota-based College Fund Properties bought the complex and underwent an ambitious construction project to renovate the once-affordable housing units to a luxury student housing development now called The Quarters. Residents were forced to relocate, in the middle of the school year, many times to dangerous or precarious housing situations due to their inability to find any other affordable housing units in Iowa City. Very little action has been put forth to offset this crisis since then.
Iowa City Council should vote against rezoning for this eight-story Capstone Collegiate building and invest in affordable or low-income housing developments. Iowa City cannot pride itself on being a progressive stronghold while its residents and lower-income college students cannot access safe and affordable shelter.