MASON CITY, Iowa- The Mason City Council is making changes to the River City Renaissance Project in an effort to keep the project moving forward.
After San Diego developer G8 Development failed to make good on their agreement with the city to break ground on the downtown Marriott Hotel, the city was forced to make a decision. They voted unanimously to terminate the agreement.
“It is disappointing, the City Council wanted to see it work with Mr. Chowder, G8 Development and G8 hospitality,” said Mason City Administrator Brent Trout. “The hotel is an important piece of the agreement to move the project forward.”
Though the city terminated the hotel deal, they are still looking to move the project forward. The council voted to approve a lease agreement with the new owners of the mall. They will be using tift and bond money to pay for the arena and will sublet the facility to other organizations. Trout says the arena will not cost the tax payers any money.
“The lease agreement is an important part of the deal,” Trout says. “This is the next concrete step to making this happen.”
But the approval of setting a fixed meeting date and the lease agreement were met with opposition.
“Can’t you hold off on doing this until after the holidays,” says Mason City resident Max Weaver. “You’re not under any timeline here, they appreciate you moving forward and that’s the picture you want to send to them.”
“If it’s a venue that has a return on investment, shouldn’t we have put some infrastructure back in to it,” says another resident.
Trout says with how much the project costs, there is room for a petition to be started, per Iowa State Code, asking to take the project to a vote.
Though the city is excited about keeping the ball rolling, they still need a hotel developer to receive the funds from the state.
“It’s still a requirement the city, without the hotel this project doesn’t work,” Trout says. “The money that comes from the sales in the rentals for hotel rooms is an important component.”