Iowa City couple shifts from suburban to urban housing
The city-dwelling duo has always had an “affinity for urban living.”
By Lauren Sieben
Ina and Jerry Loewenberg moved straight to the suburbs when they first arrived to Iowa City in 1969. Two years ago, the New York natives decided to return to their urban roots without leaving the quaint Midwest.
The couple moved into Plaza Towers, a luxury condominium complex in the downtown Iowa City Pedestrian Mall. Ina said the attraction to Plaza Towers was instant: “When we walked in the door and saw the view.”
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The Loewenbergs first relocated to Iowa City for the university; Jerry came to the University of Iowa as a political science professor before serving as the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1984 to 1992. Ina worked for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in financial management.
Jerry and Ina lived in their River Heights home, a neighborhood located off North Dubuque Street, for 38 years before moving downtown.
“We loved our house. It was very beautiful and it suited us very well,” Ina said. But the move to Plaza Towers came at a natural turning point for the Loewenbergs. “We’re older people, so it was a good moment in our lives to think about downsizing to have less driving, no stairs — you know, a lot of conveniences for being older.”
And since moving from a house to a downtown apartment, the couple has been able to downsize considerably. Instead of two cars they now have one, and trips to the gas station have been reduced to a once-a-month affair.
“Your carbon footprint is much lower living in the city than it is living in the country,” Jerry said. “Suburban living, particularly for people our age, requires so much work that isn’t really very worthwhile.”
The Loewenbergs do almost all of their grocery shopping at the Bread Garden, a grocery store located on the first floor of Plaza Towers, and Ina walks to the nearby Senior Center “almost every day.”
“Everything is within walking distance. I still go to my office everyday in Shaeffer Hall, and that’s 10 minutes from here,” Jerry said.
Ped Mall noise: Not a nuisance
The Loewenbergs took advantage of the open layout in their one-bedroom, 1,650-square-foot condo to build two office studies and a bookcase. The unit also includes a patio overlooking the Ped Mall.
Their condo’s close proximity to the downtown bars doesn’t bother the Loewenbergs. “It sometimes gets a little noisy,” Ina said. “But growing up in New York was noisy.”
“People our age are not going to go cruising around at 10 o’clock at night anyway, so if it gets really noisy we can close the windows,” Jerry said.
Bobby Jett, the property manager at Moen Group, which developed of Plaza Towers, said in a recent interview that condo owners and renters in Plaza Towers range in age from mid 20s to late 80s.
“A lot of East coast people say they cannot believe how easy it is to get to stuff here, and how much is going on,” Jett said.
Jerry and Ina said they enjoy the wide age range of Plaza Towers residents.
“It’s a very mixed group of people in this building; there’s a few people our age but not many,” Jerry said. “And then every other age group, down to students. It’s wonderful.”
The couple says they don’t miss anything about suburban living, and they don’t foresee any future moves.
“We see it as all advantages, really. We’re very pleased with it,” Jerry said.
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