The next phase in the Campustown redevelopment project

Hunter Harris, development director for LANE4.

Courtesy photo: LANE4

Hunter Harris, development director for LANE4.

Kayla Schantz

With all the recent talk about LANE4 and the Campustown redevelopment project, there have been some misunderstandings about the current phases of the development planning and upcoming actions the developer will take.

The next step in the project will be LANE4’s return trip to Ames, where the developer will ask the Ames City Council to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding.

A Memorandum of Understanding is a formal agreement between two or more parties that defines each group’s roles and responsibilities in a project.

Steve Schainker, Ames city manager, said the Memorandum of Understanding will probably outline the parameters of the project, which consists of projected costs, square footage, a general site plan, different types of usage and LANE4’s commitment to the project.

“In return, the developer would ask the City Council in the [Memorandum of Understanding] for an indication of support for various incentives — tax abatement, tax increment financing [and] site acquisition assistance,” Schainker explained.

The City Council will vote on the Memorandum of Understanding. If it is approved, Schainker said LANE4 will then hire consultants such as architects and engineers to complete the details of the design plans.

During their time in Ames, LANE4 will also be presenting the preliminary plans for the renovation and gathering feedback from the community. The first user group sessions for the project were held this summer, and then the consultants returned to Ames in October to present updates.

“I think every time that we come back here, you’re going to start to see a little bit more and more detail emerge as we’re able to drill down on some of the big issues,” said Hunter Harris, director of development for LANE4.

Harris said LANE4 plans to hold more open meetings and “have an opportunity for students and community members to give further input on our progress so that we can [go] back to the drawing board.”

Trip Ross, senior associate for LANE4, said in January, “Once we actually have a plan to show people that will help spark conversation, there will be a lot more engaging with different groups — students specifically.”

Ross added that students have an important role in the project and he invited input, ideas and suggestions as to what the new Campustown will entail.

Harris said the mission of the project is to make Campustown a destination that students can be proud of, show to their parents during weekend visits and want to return to as alumni.

“We view them as a partner in the deal, and we view their responsibility in the project as providing us with their input and feedback along the way,” Harris said. “If the students don’t come forward and give us their advice, then we won’t have a successful project here.”

LANE4 consultants were supposed to come to Ames in January but delayed the trip. Their visit is now expected in late February or March.