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Proposed C-7 zoning district is commercial version of PUD


In an effort to implement uniform architectural and landscaping criteria for large, regional developments such as Heart of America Group’s Prairie Crossing, the city of Altoona is considering the creation of a new commercial zoning district.

On Oct. 19, the City Council will consider adding the C-7 district, which is basically the commercial version of a planned unit development, said Chad Quick, a city planner.

“You will see some common entry points and features,” Quick said, which will help Prairie Crossing, a 174-acre commercial, office and retail development at the intersection of Interstate 80 and the U.S. Highway 65 bypass, be more recognizable to visitors.

If approved by the council, Quick said, the new district will allow various design elements to be meshed during the project’s expected seven- to 10-year build-out, helping the developer and city carry out their vision for the open-air mall.

Heart of America plans to begin construction of a two-story 34,000-square-foot office building on the site in November. The University of Phoenix, the development’s first tenant, will begin occupying about 8,500 square feet of the proposed building when it is completed in July, confirmed Damen Trebilcock, vice president of real estate development for Heart of America.

Trebilcock said the company has identified about 15 prospective tenants for the remaining space, adding that it is the first Class A office building to be constructed in Altoona. The developer is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification for the project.

Colleen Johnson, a vice president at CB Richard Ellis/Hubbell Commercial, said in an interview last month that The Shoppes at Prairie Crossing, which is slated to include about 1.5 million square feet of space when completed, could eventually rival the size of Jordan Creek Town Center.

The project’s first phase, including 400,000 square feet of retail space, is expected to be finished in 2011.

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