DES MOINES, Iowa — Drake University says it is selling or leasing more than four acres on the east edge of its Des Moines campus to a developer for construction of apartments, townhomes, commercial space and a parking garage.

Drake President Marty Martin said Monday the proposed development valued at more than $63 million will create a “walkable, vibrant hub of retail and restaurant options” for the private university located northwest of city’s central business district.

Cedar Falls-based Merge Urban Development Group will get federal tax incentives for developing in the federally designated Qualified Opportunity Zone, a program for improving low-income areas.

The new announcement follows a new Hilton hotel and restaurant already under construction in the area and a planned $8 million new Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement, a center named after former Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin.

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