Business owners weigh in on City Council’s Lane4 decision


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Business owners of Ames had mixed responses to the Ames City Council’s decision to deny Lane4 an extension.

Ted Sics

The Ames City Council recently denied Lane4 an extension on their controversial Campustown development plan. As a result, they no longer hold exclusive rights to renovate the area.

Ames business owners expressed mixed feelings about the decision.

Rob Josephson, owner of Mayhem Comics and Games, criticized the way in which Lane4 engaged with Campustown business owners.

“They never bothered to come down here and talk to anyone in person,” Josephson said. “All their decisions were made through either correspondence through form letters or just rumors and hearsay. Seeing them go, I think, is probably the right decision.”

Josephson said Campustown would still benefit from certain changes.

“Right now, Campustown is really lacking in that there aren’t a lot of places to shop down here,” he said. “If they could get a little closer to a half-and-half mixture with services, I think you might see more people come down here and shop.”

A business owner who declined to be named said he believes Campustown will never be renovated, regardless of which company that attempts to do it.

Another said he would have supported Lane4’s plan if he’d been reassured that his business would not have to relocate.

Sonja Scigliano, owner of Studio X, said that whether or not Campustown is renovated, she trusts the city council to make the best decisions for Ames business owners.

Doug Ziminski, owner of Leedz Salon, said he was pleased with the city council’s decision.

“The only way that Lane4 could do what they did was to actually steal the property, develop it and charge back the people who lease [businesses] an extraordinary amount of money that would be way over what the value would be,” Ziminski said. “I honestly don’t think it ever had a possibility of going through because it was such a far-fetched idea.”

Ziminski said that renovation would not be worth the effort anway, since Campustown already has good property values.

“Lane4 is going to go into a blighted area. It’s going to go into an unsafe, drug-riddled type of environment,”Ziminski said. “Campustown is vital. It’s growing. It’s clean and it’s healthy. That’s not a community Lane4 would participate in.”

City Council remains open to development projects. 

“We do want to see changes to Campustown, we just don’t want to see it with a bulldozer,” Josephson said.