Campustown revision

Katelynn Mccollough

A portion of the face of Campustown is headed for change.

Kingland Systems, a software and services company, bought nine buildings in Campustown in December 2012 and is looking to demolish buildings from Charlie Yoke’s up to Cranford Apartments.

Jeff’s Pizza is not included in the demolition plans.

The 7 p.m. City Council meeting on Tuesday will decide on modifying a step-back requirement on the new building design, as well as a possible tax incentive for the project.

Jason Crimmins, owner of Charlie Yoke’s with Mike Roberts, said that they have not yet been given a concrete date of when they will need to leave their current location.

While a new location for Charlie Yoke’s has yet to be finalized, Crimmins said the restaurant and bar wants to stay in the Campustown area.

“We have been aggressively pursuing other properties” Crimmins said.

The most recent plans for Kingland’s redevelopment project show a three-story, 75,000 square foot building.

Campustown Action Association and Iowa State are showing support for the project.

Kimberly Hanna, director of Campustown Action Association, said in an email that Campustown has been noted as an area for redevelopment.

“Like all business districts, Campustown has to evolve and change as customer demands evolve and change,” Hanna said. “Campustown is the home of many small and independent business owners and independent franchise owners, and we want to maintain that, while [also] being aware of what the needs of the community are and will be five or 10 years from now.”

We’ve indicated an interest in potentially leasing the top floor of the project as they are currently planning it,” said Warren Madden, who is hoping to use the space for university offices.

At the same time, Spencer Hughes, president of GSB, sent a letter to the Ames City Council on Sunday requesting that the council delay action on the agenda items dealing with the Kingland project in order to give students more time to voice their opinions on the changes.

Alexandria Harvey, student liaison to the City Council, agreed: “I’m against students not having the chance to voice their opinion. … That area is where students go.”

Harvey explained that students could offer their opinion by attending the council meeting, by talking with council members at WelcomeFest on Wednesday, or by emailing a council member.

Kingland Systems plans to use the second floor for its own office space, with the street level fronts being used as retail spaces available for rent.

Todd Rognes, president of Kingland Systems, said he could not confirm the types of retail firms they are looking to fill in the first floor spaces. Rognes did say the company had “had discussions with large retail firms.”

Rognes said Kingland Systems is open to explaining the vision for the new project with students.

A Facebook page called “Save Campustown” popped up on Sunday, Aug. 25.

Krista Johnson, senior in political science, is an administrator on the page.

“It didn’t seem like any of the student body was aware of its development,” Johnson said, who is hoping to bring the project to students’ attention.

Johnson said she is not against Kingland Systems but isn’t sure Campustown is the right place for the project.

Crimmins from Charlie Yoke’s said students wants and needs shouldn’t be neglected.

“I think the student’s wants are what make Campustown, Campustown,” Crimmins said.

Rognes said Kingland Systems would like to start the project by early 2014 and have it completed by 2015.

Two historic buildings have been identified as part of the demolition. They include the Champlin Building, which was the first brick structure in Campustown and the historical theater that is currently Kingland Systems office space.

A property development group called LANE4 previously tried to renovate Campustown, with failed results.