The south side of the tracks, south of downtown Ames, could be the site of increased activity in the future as the city looks to "amplify downtown."
Developers updated the Ames City Council on the Lincoln Way Corridor project, which they're now calling "The Linc," at Tuesday's City Council meeting. The development would sit between Clark and Kellogg avenues and bring a hotel, conference center and new retail space to the area.
Chuck Winkleblack of Hunziker & Associates told councilors timeline for the project, which is three years in the making, has been slowed down due to the pandemic. He also said the project would be beyond the scope of anything his company has done before.
Design firm ISG Inc. and Christensen Development are collaborating with Hunziker on the development.
"It’s been a long time coming," Winkleblack said. "It seems every time I drive by City Hall, somebody would run out and flag me down and ask, 'When are we going be able to see what’s going on.' "
The area will be part of a state-approved reinvestment district, which could generate $10 million in tax rebates for the city.
The project has been dubbed “the link” by developers, as it would create a new connection between the north and south sides of the railroad tracks in the city's Main Street core. A skywalk between the corridor and the parking garage would circumvent the railroad tracks for pedestrians.
“I was on site earlier today and I actually found myself cut off from the southern side of the tracks here and longing for a pedestrian bridge,” Cody Vanasse, the lead architect on the project, said Tuesday.
The hotel would be a 10-story building with 130 rooms. Vanasse said they are proposing a hotel bar and a large lobby that would empty into a conference center. There would also be six levels of commercial office space, as well as ground-level retail and top-level office space, he said.
Council member Gloria Betcher said the city of Des Moines decided not to build parking garages that could not be later converted into apartments and asked whether the corridor lot would be convertible. Jake Christensen, president of Christensen Development, said the differing height requirements make it difficult to retrofit the entire building, but said some sections may have that potential.
Council member Tim Gartin connected the project to the Climate Action Plan and asked what carbon strategy is being considered. The net-zero parking structure next to the Des Moines City Hall will offer some inspiration for the Ames development, developers said.
"When you look through the corridor plan, it’s really identifying that we want to amplify downtown and have a synergy with how we do things on the south side of the tracks, which is really going to bring energy to the north side of the tracks," Kelly Diekmann, the director of the city's planning and development department, said.
Corrections: The name of the lead architect on the project, with ISG Inc., is Cody Vanasse. Developers now refer to the project as The Linc.
Keeping up with council:
For more information on future meetings, city documents and council agendas, visit cityofames.org/CCmeetings. Find recordings of past meetings or watch future meetings live at youtube.com/AmesChannel12.
This article originally appeared on Ames Tribune: Ames city officials say Lincoln Way Corridor will 'amplify downtown'