Carver Corner poised for development

A rendering of a potential World Peace Park site, which some Muscatine leaders are advocating for Carver Corner.

The City of Muscatine hopes a private developer will turn Carver Corner into an urban mixed-use development with quality architecture, commercial and residential amenities, and good employment opportunities.

Last week the city held a pre-proposal conference for development teams interested in the Carver Corner Redevelopment Project on 6.19 acres of property located in the downtown corridor.

A half-mile west of Downtown Muscatine, Carver Corner is the intersection of Hershey Avenue and Green Street and bordered on the south by the Mississippi River and the levee topped by the City’s Riverfront walking/biking trail.

According to the RFP, the city intends to enter into a development agreement and convey the property to the development team which best meets the city’s goals. For this privately-owned, mixed-use project, the city lists the following objectives for the Redevelopment of “Carver Corner:”

  • Redevelop vacant property
  • Achieve high quality architectural and site design
  • Establish land uses consistent with redevelopment plans
  • Promote in-fill opportunities
  • Create high quality employment opportunities
  • Encourage destination points to draw people
  • Provide opportunities to live, work and recreate near the river
  • Enhance visitor experience along an important corridor in the community
  • Establish outdoor recreational or green space (trail, park, courtyard, etc.)
  • Improve long-term economic benefit

Specific goals the city has for this project include:

  • Urban building(s) consistent with the stated goals of the downtown & riverfront areas which emphasize urban, walkable neighborhoods, and high quality architectural and site design;
  • A variety of commercial and residential uses; and
  • Residential uses designed and marketed to households desiring to live in a quality/high amenity building(s).

Ultimately, the city is looking for a project that maximizes private investment and leverages non-city sources to the greatest degree possible.  The chosen developer will negotiate a Development Agreement with the city which will include terms for the conveyance of the property; assurances for project completion according to agreed timelines; as well as financial terms associated with the project.

Regarding the city’s goals for mixed-use retail, commercial and residential, real estate developer Ann Meeker with Downtown Muscatine Investors said her experience is that Muscatine has quite a bit of office and commercial space available and it’s often difficult to keep commercial and retail space full in downtown.

Meeker, her husband Tom and other Muscatine leaders are part of a group advocating for the development of the Muscatine World Peace Park on the site.

“I think that is a prime location (Carver Corner) for tourism that could draw money … I’m talking about tourism that could support itself on that spot,” said Ann Meeker. “We have the most accessible riverfront of anywhere on the Mississippi, so we have a huge opportunity to bring outside people into this community as tourists.”

In a statement presented by Dick Maeglin: “The group guiding the World Peace Park believe that tourism and conventions must be a central focus for Muscatine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and that of our city government. Muscatine has superb ancillary attractions of interest for convention attendees and to busload tourists to enjoy.

“The World Peace Park Advisory Board will be offering some ideas and plans for the development of Carver corner land and completion of the Mississippi river front beautification in the coming weeks and months. But for now, let it be well known that the group is in close collaborative relationship with the International Institute for Peace Through Tourism (IIPT) and it’s 1986 founder, Louis D’Amore, who have helped to put in place hundreds of Peace Parks in every time zone around the world.”

The request for proposals (RFP) for the Carver Corner Redevelopment Project carries a deadline of 3 p.m. Aug. 14.  Proposal should be delivered to the Finance Department at Muscatine City Hall.