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Downtown Mason City: Hotel, parking ramp, pavilion, retail development to cost over $30 million

This news story was published on March 17, 2014.
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MASON CITY – More information has come forward to the NIT newsroom regarding the proposed downtown Mason City hotel/parking ramp/retail/performance pavilion development.

NIT reported this weekend that the Des Moines Register published figures about a larger potential development for downtown Mason City – that would be more than just a hotel and retail shops. The figures the Register published may not be accurate, however, as the State of Iowa has turned over the actual application materials that Mason City sent to the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED), which differ from those published in the Register.

The Mason City council recently approved an application for funding from the state of Iowa to help fund the 4-part development.  The application was sent to Des Moines on March 15, the deadline for the state to accept applications forhelp in creating an Iowa Reinvestment District.

From the Iowa Department of Economic Development (IDED):

iowa capitol golden domeOn Friday [March 15, 2014], we received an application from Mason City for the Iowa Reinvestment District Program. They have requested assistance in the amount of $6,233,959 with a total capital investment within the district of $30,052,236. The application is available as an open record, although it is quite lengthy, and too large to email in its entirety. In an effort to get you some information today, I have attached the project description pages to this email. If you would like to receive a copy of the entire application, please let me know, I can make arrangements to get a copy you.

The program legislation limits the total state assistance to 35% of the total proposed capital investment in the district. In addition, since these funds are generated within the district, the amount of funding is also limited by the amount of hotel/motel and sales tax that can be generated within the district over 20 years.

There is not an express “local match” requirement in the legislation. Therefore, applicants can propose a mix of financing that works best for their project.


Brief description of the four components of the $30 million development:

A public parking lot in downtown Mason City, at second street and North Washington Avenue.

A public parking lot in downtown Mason City, at second street and North Washington Avenue.

CENTRAL PARK HOTEL: $15,968,700. Five stories, 100 rooms, with skyway to $4.85 million parking ramp.  Located in parking lot at 1st NW and Washington Ave.

DOWNTOWN PARKING GARAGE: $4,854,450. Multi-level, 225-250 spaces. Metered parking.  City claims that about $180,000 in revenues from the parking lot will be generated each year.  Located in parking lot at 1st NW and Washington Ave.

MIXED USE RETAIL/RESIDENTIAL BUILDING:  $5,955, 150.  Three story mixed-use retail residential building.  Up to five retail spaces, four facing Federal Ave. and 1 facing 2nd NE.  Would contain 18 market rate dwelling units.  Indoor parking for six vehicles.  Located at gravel parking lot at Federal Avenue and 2nd Street NE.

OUTDOOR PERFORMING ARTS PAVILION: $3,255,936.  City says Steben’s and MCC Theatre are not adequate.  Large canopy over seats of 300-400.  Could accommodate up to 900 spectators.  “Low impact development techniques”.  Not in flood plain, city says.  Located at 2nd Street SW and Washington Ave.

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34 Responses to Downtown Mason City: Hotel, parking ramp, pavilion, retail development to cost over $30 million

  1. Wow Reply Report comment

    March 22, 2014 at 8:10 am

    Why would we even bother putting this downtown? We spent close to 50 million dollars for downtown improvements, and the gimmick on that was if we didn’t we wouldn’t be competitive. Well we spent 7 million on a library where it looks like we spent $7,000 on and nobody goes to because everything is digital. Stores are closing, people are moving away, cant sell the properties for sale and the mall is the worst I have seen ever. Throwing another 30 million is not the answer!

  2. Mary Madison Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    The Trojan Horse has entered the gates of Mason City. The “real story” is climbing out of the horse along with the TEAM. The TEAM is bringing increased property taxes, increases in water/sewer, etc., etc., etc. The other shoes are now dropping post election.

    Interesting that we were 1st told of this in Sunday’s Des Moines Register & a day later in the Globe Gazette.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm

      This development was in Saturday’s DM Register (March 15) … then NIT reported the development early Sunday (3-16) and again in much more detail on Monday (3-17). The Globe only reported on Sunday by regurgitating the city council packet and did not dig up any of the real details behind the project. A real dis-service to the community and part of the secrecy and closed government we have here in Mason City.

      PS: Why no community meetings on this project from city council? Tornquist/Lee/Kuhn met once with the public at a bar (LD’s) … and not since. Solberg, Hickey, Marinos, never, not once. They promised a real openness and inclusion with the public… was it all a lie, or just a reaction to the elections? A $30 million dollar project isn’t enough reason to meet with the public? What a sham. Sorry Mason City.

  3. Maybe Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    2 things come to mind about this, the first is this is the same parking lot that the mayor promised that the new hotel was going in so now we know for sure that he was lying about that. The second is that this is the parking lot for everybody that lives in the apartment building across the road next to suzy q’s and most of those people are on a government program and can’t afford to run out and put money in the meters plus the Praise Church in the elks building.

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2014 at 6:46 pm

      @maybe-I think they are talking about the property down by Willow Creek now. Which if that is it it is in a flood plain. Makes no sense to spend 30 million dollars there, but, they have no sense anyway. It is all about ego with our mayor.

      • Maybe Reply Report comment

        March 18, 2014 at 11:50 pm

        The picture that was shown was the parking lot between US Bank and the old Elks building now the Praise Church.

    • Matt Marquardt Reply Report comment

      March 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm

      Good observation. So what if low-income people have no place to park. Do Eric and Robin and Brent 1 and Brent 2 and Scott and Travis and Janet and Jean give a darn? No, they do not. I truly believe these “leaders” despise persons of lower means. They look down their long, pointy noses at them, as they game the system. We are all worse off with this group running MC, and we can only blame ourselves for not doing enough to keep them out of office.

  4. Philosophus Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2014 at 5:14 am

    It’s peculiar that government is now in the business of building hotels and retail shops. This is obviously a form of communism / socialism. A partnership between business and government using tax payer dollars to insure the selected business will never fail. Must be nice. The wives and children need a place to shop right? So use 7 million tax payer dollars to develop something. It’s wrong on so many levels, but the elected officials get to spend the purse how they want.

  5. 50 MILES SOUTH Reply Report comment

    March 18, 2014 at 3:53 am

    go ahead and build it. what do I care. I dont live in Mason City and I dont have to pay for it. Suckers!

  6. me Reply Report comment

    March 17, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Looks like the crooked city politicians and employees can stiff everyone in plain site. The complete project is a stinking joke and not needed or wanted by most city dwellers. How much public funds go to this? Got a half empty mall downtown to fill in and to many empty motel rooms to fill. Asking now how much in kickbacks will be divided out among to those who approved this screw-job???

    • LVS Reply Report comment

      March 17, 2014 at 6:42 pm

      @me-good post. They will try to say it is just state funds but who pays the state taxes? We do and you know that isn’t true anyway. There will be millions in infastructure required to pull it off. The good thing is it will probably never happen. Why would the state invest in this town?

      • steve Reply Report comment

        March 18, 2014 at 8:27 am

        Probably won’t because of people like you. You are the reason why the schools suck and why this town will never be any better. If you want to live in the past go right ahead, but don’t let others suffer because you are incapable of change.

        • LVS Reply Report comment

          March 18, 2014 at 10:04 am

          @steve-and people like you are the reason our taxes continue to go up and up while the service goes down. You talk about our schools that we invest more in every year with no return on our investment. You are one of the spendocrats and are to cheap to even buy a subscription. How is Brent these days you establishment lackey?

          • bodacious

            March 18, 2014 at 10:54 am

            LVS, I am not looking to pick a fight with you but I do have a question. You seem to know who has a subscription and who doesn’t have one for this site. How do you know that?

          • William Jefferson Clapton

            March 18, 2014 at 1:23 pm

            profile pic

            most likely

            I too am cheap

          • LVS

            March 18, 2014 at 1:44 pm

            @bodacious-Mostly they have said so at one time or another.

          • LVS

            March 18, 2014 at 1:52 pm

            @bodacious-You can also tell by the names they use and in Steve’s case I believe someone else mentioned that he was Trout’s good buddy and who he is. I just pay attention is all.

          • Buzz Crumcutter

            March 18, 2014 at 4:25 pm

            LVS… you are far too kind to that guy. 🙂

          • Maybe

            March 18, 2014 at 10:29 pm

        • Philosophus Reply Report comment

          March 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm

          Sun Gas. I’m still listening to it on the headphones. I think at this point I’m working on developing a 100% efficient thermal mass, passive solar, self contained living structure this summer on my land. You’re welcome to help me out. Despite what LVS the jackass thinks of me…I’m actively working on very profound projects he knows nothing about. I have zero interest in working in jobs around this area because the job I’m working on will change the world as we know it.

          • Maybe

            March 18, 2014 at 11:48 pm

            Have you started working on this project yet?

          • Philosophus

            March 19, 2014 at 6:49 am

            Yes, excavation begins mid April. Large Solar Glass already delivered. Automobile Tires lined up from local Mechanic Shops. Permits lined up from Courthouse. It’s Green Light…all systems go. Ground Breaking begins when Big Bucket shows up in a few weeks. Total Solar…off the Grid. The Philosophers and Artists Community Center for Sanctuary and World Peace is on its way. Earthship Biotecture School, Performance Stage. Unlike Anything Iowa has ever known.

          • Maybe

            March 19, 2014 at 6:58 am

            I was told that by law, if I was to get solar panels I still had to stay on gas with alliant, I cannot be totally off grid.

          • Philosophus

            March 19, 2014 at 7:02 am

            That’s total bullarky. The only interest the county has (not sure what county you’re dealing with) is Sanitation (where your poop will go) and acquiring a building permit (based on valuation of property to be constructed). IN my county (a great county btw!! NOT CERRO CRAPPO) any structure under $7500 in building costs, the permit is FREE! You can keep on messing with Cerro Gordo, or you can branch out to some of the smaller populated counties who actually appreciate new settlers.

          • Maybe

            March 19, 2014 at 7:07 am

            It was cerro gordo county and it was also alliant that told me that. There is something that is bothering me, you said construction is about to begin, permits are all taken care of yet the other week you were also about ready to move to Colorado.

          • Philosophus

            March 19, 2014 at 7:43 am

            You’re always seeing things rigidly, either-or, black or white. Rigid things break under stress or freezing don’t they? Start being like water. You can flow anywhere. Remain flexible. Ready at a moments notice. “The Arhant’s ways are known to none”.

          • Maybe

            March 19, 2014 at 7:52 am

            What does that have to do with what I asked you?

          • Philosophus

            March 19, 2014 at 8:12 am

            It means that everything is in a state of fluidity, everything is subject to change. I can no greater promise you I will make it a day without a meteorite striking, than you can promise me you’ll not be hit by winter lightning. If conditions on the ground lend a need to travel to Colorado…I will be ready. I have advertisements in major cities across the State. Thus far I have a few responses. The local population is welcome as well…but not interlopers.

          • LVS

            March 19, 2014 at 8:57 am

            @maybe-Well here you have another wet dream by Philly. Don’t you know by now he never does anything he says. Lie after lie is what you get with old Philly. I have it on good authority he didn’t quit his last job either. He was told it wasn’t working out. Just a dredge on society.

          • Philosophus

            March 19, 2014 at 9:05 am

            The Goad Toad is your new name LVS. It’s all you know how to do. Yes, I did put in my notice and I quit the last job (Globe Gazette) because it wasn’t fitting in with my plans for construction this summer. I have a new title now: Construction Supervisor and Educator. Your narrow plan for the human race doesn’t fit in with my expanded one. My plan has a future full of promise and hope, and yours only misery, imprisonment and death. GOAD TOAD. It fits.

          • Maybe

            March 19, 2014 at 9:20 am

            Was that you I saw delivering papers then?

          • LVS

            March 19, 2014 at 10:38 am

            @maybe-he couldn’t even hold a job delivering papers. What a idiot he is. Construction Supervisor my butt. Just more of his lies. I am looking at buying a new Harley and getting back into riding. They will modify the exhaust for me. I intend on spending a lot of time in Clear Lake. Vrooom, Vrooom. The Harleys are coming.

          • Philosophus

            March 19, 2014 at 11:15 am

            And I won’t be in Clear Lake…so Vroom vroom all you want. It just goes to show what a turncoat idiot you are. You’d be willing to harass large segments of the population to satisfy an urge to cause me discomfort? A sadist to say the least. LVS, you’ve lost with me…on every level. I’m smarter than you, more wise than you, more capable than you, have more compassion than you, and am more enlightened than you. You lose. I win. No matter what you do, your negativity won’t win.