WATERLOO — Plans are in the works to tear down the Kimball Ridge Center to make way for new commercial development.
The property at 2101 Kimball Ave. and the adjacent address on Ridgeway Avenue have been mostly vacant for years.
On Tuesday the Waterloo Planning, Programming and Zoning Commission approved a request to rezone the land to allow for a shopping center.
The rezoning request will move to the City Council for further approval pending a study to see what the project would mean for traffic in the area.
“We’ve been working on this project for a couple of years and have taken a couple of shots at trying to make the project work. I think we’ve made some good traction along these lines,” said Jeff Stickfort, a contractor working with C-10 Investments LLC, which made the rezoning request.
“We’re pretty excited,” he said.
“I think it’s great to have development in that area because it has sat for a while, and I think it will be a betterment for the area,” said commission member Sue Flynn.
Formerly Schoitz Hospital, the building recently had been the location of Ridgeway Place assisted living and a rehabilitation and fitness center, all of which have moved to new locations. Last year, the site housed a temporary COVID-19 testing facility.
The plan calls for rezoning about six acres and removing the main structure. The MercyOne medical arts building northwest of the site would remain, according to the plan.
The site would be subdivided into three lots, and five buildings would be built following demolition.
Jim Lind, who operates a gas station and auto repair garage across the street, asked about any effect the development would have on storm water drainage in the area during Tuesday’s commission meeting.
Documents show the site currently has a private storm drain, and the zoning recommendation indicates that a drainage plan would be required for any development on the site.
Lind also asked if the property would be eligible for tax increment financing incentives.
“I am very supportive of having some neighbors across the street again like we had for many years, and we certainly want to see that again. We just worry about our tax dollars,” Lind said.
City officials said the location currently isn’t in a TIF district, but that existing districts could be expanded to include the land.
Stickfort said a tunnel under Ridgeway Avenue that leads to the former hospital property would be filled in as part of the project.
“The primary reason for this is if the tunnel were to collapse, we would end up with an 8-foot hole in the street,” he said. He said part of the operation would be done underground without disturbing the surface.