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WARNING TO MASON CITY TAXPAYERS: Marriott hotel deal won’t be free

NIT Opinion –

West row of parking at the public lot where a Marriott may be built.
West row of parking at the public lot where a Marriott may be built.

Marriott hotels reported profits of $192 million last quarter.

That’s up from $160 million the previous quarter. Revenue increased more than 9% to $3.46 billion. Room rates have surged to record levels.

If you think that means Marriott has plenty of cash to build a new hotel in Mason City, you would be dam right. If you think they will do it without help from the beleaguered taxpayers, you’d be dam wrong.

Mason City taxpayers were burdened with a 10% tax hike this year, and trash/sanitation/water all rose along with it. Many folks have been choked by the grubby hands of the elected in city hall.  This hotel deal will, in some fashion, be subsidized by the people, too, just like the fake grass on the downtown plaza.

One can only assume now that city staff is talking with Phillip Chodur of San Diego now, and he is going to Marriott with whatever he can squeeze from the city. He has to take Marriott the best deal possible to entice them to sign the final go-ahead on this development. You must recognize that the deal is being cut right now. Your money is on the line as these “negotiations” are taking place. Something must be brought to the city council, and although an agreement between Phillip Chodur and Marriott was “announced”, the city (one would hope) has not signed off on anything. The council must vote on any development deal that city staff proposes through these talks.

Just what will that deal be? How much will Chodur and Marriott ask for?

A very smart man wrote to NIT last fall when the last hotel deal was announced (the Hilton deal that fell through).

He rattled off some good questions and observations. Here’s a few:

  • The 64 dollar question is WHO is the investor franchisee for this?
  • Will a financial and market study be completed?
  • What will Chodur and Marriott be expecting from the City of Mason City to make their project become a GO? (It will be MORE than the half block of City property for $1.00 you can bet the farm on.)
  • Can we expect to hand out Tax Increment from this project PLUS possibly extra Tax Increment financial support for the construction/operating pro forma from the district the City has in existence? The west side (Indianhead Shopping Center) comes to the rescue of the downtown. That is where the Tax Increment money comes from to pay the annual debt service on the $4M plus of Tax increment bonds that provided the City funds for that project.
  • How many years will Marriott be tax-exempt once the dust clears? Free City parking/snow removal?

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…anyone that doesn’t think the city won’t have to “pony’ up some cash or other incentive should this project go forward…has their head in the sand. As far as the Park Inn going belly up “should” this hotel/motel be built, also has their heads in the sand…the city will keep the Park Inn “afloat” merely to save face from the outside world!

Lets say they do build it, that leaves no more parking lot for all of downtown and no more parking for the people at the apartment building across the street. Are they telling us that all the hotels in town are always booked up? Sounds like a complete waste of time and money to me.

@Maybe-the hotels are around 50 to 55% occupied right now.. That is barely break even. At the very least a new hotel will put the Park Inn and one other out of business. Of course all the people who work downtown and go to church there will have to find other places to park, I, personally do not think it will ever happen. I can’t believe a major hotel chain would come in here without doing a market study.

Whoever is behind building the hotel there obviously does NOT have the town in it’s best interests, probably alittle under the table going on.

Those were good points to ponder; this will not only be costly but it will make it very hard on existing hotels in this city. There are too many rooms for this market already but the council doesn’t seem to take that into consideration. What is taking place on this city is sickening.

It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see them try to push though a tax increase to get this deal. These will all be low paying (and a lot of them part time jobs). No incentive for the working people to subsidize this project at all.

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