Originally published in the Telegraph Herald on May 3, 2018.

DUBUQUE, IA – A proposed affordable senior housing complex in Dubuque cleared an initial zoning hurdle Wednesday night.

The City of Dubuque Zoning Advisory Commission recommended to approve rezoning about 1.2 acres owned by Church of the Nativity on behalf of Horizon Development Group.

The site plan calls for a 60-unit senior apartment building to be built on the site of the demolished Nativity School off Nevada Street.

Associate City Planner Kyle Kritz said that the zoning change would shift the property from two-family residential use to office residential, which would permit multi-family dwellings. The request will go before the Dubuque City Council on May 21.

Horizon Development also built the Applewood Senior Apartments campus, which has about 200 units in four buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue near John F. Kennedy Road.

Scott Kwiecinski, development manager for Horizon Development, said after the company completed the fourth Applewood building last fall, it immediately saw the need for more affordable senior housing in the city.

“It leased up very quickly,” he said of the latest addition. “We’re at 100 percent occupancy as of today.”

Kwiecinski said the proposed $11 million project would be a three-story wood frame building, similar to Applewood 4, and have one- or two-bedroom units.

The building would have underground parking for tenants, as well as above-ground spaces for visitors. He said the zoning change is a necessary step so the developer can pursue financing, including Iowa Finance Authority tax credits.

Kritz said the lot would be accessed from Nevada Street.

Kwiecinski told the commission that Horizon Development met with about 25 neighbors this week about the project. He said there was not any “adversarial” feedback.

He read a statement on behalf of Perry Mason, chairman of the Nativity Parish Council, that urged the commission to approve the zoning change. Mason did not attend the meeting.

No one spoke during public comment. The commission did not discuss the application before recommending its approval.

Kwiecinski said after the meeting that, if financing is secured in the timeline expected, his group hopes to start construction in late summer or early fall 2019 with a 2020 opening.

The commission also approved a site plan for a new location for Ichiban Hibachi Steakhouse & Sushi Bar on a vacant lot in Asbury Plaza.

However, contacted after the meeting, Ichiban Manager Cici Chen said owners are no longer considering a move from the 3187 University Ave. location.

Read the full Telegraph Herald story here.