Construction kicked off March 25 to transform a vacant lot in Peosta into a four-story complex that will house about 190 students.

“This has been a dream and a vision for a couple of years now as it’s been a work in progress,” said Wes Schulte, of College Suites LLC, which is developing the 2.75 acres on the west end of the Northeast Iowa Community College campus. “I am excited to see this literally come out of the ground and stand tall.”

The $14 million project is expected to be completed in August 2022.

The building will include 82 living units as well as a commons area, study rooms, a fitness area, outdoor parking and storage space for bikes, skis and snowboards. The one- to four-bedroom apartments only will be available for students attending NICC.

Last May, NICC sold the land to the City of Peosta for $1. In turn, the city gave the land to College Suites.

Schulte said his goal with the new facility is not to create a traditional apartment complex, but rather a place where students can connect and experience a feeling similar to a “big college community.”

“This is truly an experience,” he said. “We plan to have events on-site. There is going to be a programming element to this building to keep the students active and mixed. We’re super excited to see the impact that this will have on NICC and the community of Peosta and provide a great environment for these students. We’re looking forward to seeing it come to life in the next 15 months.”

Earlier this year, City Council members held a public hearing to discuss a tax-abatement agreement with College Suites but ultimately decided not to pursue that specific urban revitalization plan, according to City Administrator Whitney Baethke.

She said city officials are negotiating a development agreement with College Suites and plan to hold a public hearing on it this summer.

“We are working really hard to position Peosta as a community of choice,” she said. “The fact that 190 college students will now be able to choose NICC and Peosta as home is pretty incredible. The project brings incredible value to all elements of Peosta (such as) workforce, education, recreation, economic development and community.”