MUSCATINE — After over decade of disuse, the City of Muscatine is requesting proposals for the rehabilitation of 500 Mulberry.
According to Adam Thompson of the City of Muscatine’s Community Development Department, the location at the intersection of Mulberry and E. Fifth has been taped off for no occupancy since he’s been working with it.
“It has basically been in this limbo where nobody wanted to take ownership of the property,” Thompson said. “Tracking down the owners of the property was next to impossible. That's what took so long, just figuring out who owns it.”
The city acquired the property through Iowa Code Chapter 657, which deals with nuisance properties. It stipulates a process where properties deemed “injurious to health, indecent, or unreasonably offensive to the senses” can be — in specific cases — redeeded. The city is looking to rehabilitate the property.
“It’s valuable to the community to have a property with a structure on it,” Thompson said. “To have a property with a structure on it pays back significantly more than it would as a vacant lot. And that is really important to the overall viability and vibrancy of the community.”
Thompson said that his department began considering rehabilitation when they learned how expensive it was going to be demolish the building. The two-story building shares a wall with an adjacent property.
“Going in to tear down half of a building is a very difficult and costly,” Thompson said. “Because of that cost, the rehabilitation of the building becomes viable because the cost of demolition is so high. The city is doing our due diligence in taking appropriate action to benefit citizens to make sure we are using our tax dollars appropriately.”
He emphasized the need to systematically walk through the planning for the property.
“We don’t want to just willy-nilly make a decision to look at something and say, ‘That needs to be torn down. Let’s spend a bunch of money on it,’” Thompson said. “We need to go through a deliberate process to go through the options that we have to make sure that we are taking the appropriate action.”
A pre-bid meeting will take place at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 13 at the property. City of Muscatine staff will be available for questions and to view the property.