On Wednesday, March 6, 2019 the Hiawatha City Council approved a plan to bring more housing and retail options to Hiawatha. The $72 million project, called Hiawatha Midtown, represents the largest private investment in the city’s history, and will create a walkable residential, retail and entertainment district that will serve as the city center – “the Heart of Hiawatha.”
Keith Billick, a designer with Side by Side, LLC who is leading the project, says the large-scale development, to be completed in phases over a five-year period, will add a diverse mix of attainable housing to the city to accommodate a growing population.
“Great urban design drives economic development,” said Billick. “Hiawatha Midtown has the potential to connect a growing number of residents with small and mid-size businesses that make a big impact on the local economy.”
Housing will feature a mix of apartment, condos, townhouses, a senior living community and single-family bungalows. Central to the plan will be flexible live-work spaces that allow small business owners to combine some of their personal and business expenses, a strategy shown to increase the success rate of start-ups.
While the architecture and design of Hiawatha Midtown will offer a more contemporary feel, extra attention will be paid to ensure the development compliments the existing character of its surroundings.
“It was important to us that the project feels like a natural fit for the area,” said Billick. “We want to tap into the potential that already exists and build off the things residents want to see in their neighborhood.”
According to Billick, adding attainable, attractive housing and business space is just the beginning. Pedestrian and bike-friendly trails and sidewalks will better connect residents with local businesses. Plans are also in the works for green spaces to beautify the city and provide a place for socialization and outdoor recreation.