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Bookmeyer meets behind locked doors at bar with hotel honcho

Eric Bookmeyer’s car parked in front of the Historic Park Inn, where he met Friday with Steve Noto.

MASON CITY – Today, Mason City Mayor Eric Bookmeyer met behind locked doors at a downtown bar with a hotel company president.

Bookmeyer was spotted at the 1910 Grille Friday afternoon around 2:45 PM; his car was parked out front on State Street next to a black Cadillac SUV. Sitting at the bar with Bookmeyer was one other man – Steve Noto. There did not appear to be anyone else at the bar except a server standing nearby in a white smock.  Access to the hotel was open, but the doors to the restaurant / bar were locked. Employees standing near the locked door inside the Historic Park Inn hotel lobby said “that’s closed” when an attempt to go inside was made. They then said “the president of this place” was inside.  Noto is listed as the President of HPI Partners, LLC. They acknowledged that Bookmeyer was inside sitting at the bar with him.  A call from NIT to the hotel later Friday seeking Noto was taken by an employee who said Noto had left but had met with Bookmeyer this afternoon.  As Bookmeyer met with Noto, the mayor’s office in city hall just one block away sat empty.

NIT asked employees of City Hall and elected officials what the meeting could be about, but no one had a definitive answer.  It is common knowledge that Bookmeyer has been on a quest for years to find someone to build a hotel in downtown Mason City, funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars out of city hall to a defunct parking ramp / hotel project that seems to have gotten nowhere.  It should be noted that sources tell NIT that Noto and the Historic Park Inn have not opposed this new hotel development; in fact, Noto is the son-in-law of Jim Thompson, who owns the Stoney Creek Hospitality company, an outfit Noto is also connected to as Chief Financial Officer.  Stoney Creek has been rumored to be in the mix as a possible hotel developer that could step in and build a hotel in downtown Mason City to help revive the Downtown Renaissance project, which at this time appears to be on life-support.

Noto and Bookmeyer sat a the bar (that’s Bookmeyer’s car in the reflection) quite likely discussing city business.

Minutes before Bookmeyer’s clandestine, locked-door meeting with Noto in the Park Inn was uncovered, City Administrator Brent Trout was spotted walking with a group of 6-8 people very close by. They were all finely-dressed, or, as one citizen said “dressed professionally.” Trout was leading this group through Central Park, pointing here and there, talking, as the group looked on.  Some of them laughed and chatted among themselves as they strolled down the misty, foggy, damp sidewalks.  The group made its way to the public parking lot next door to City Hall, where a hotel and parking ramp will be built if Bookmeyer gets his way.  As the group of people began to go their separate ways, Philip Chodur of San Diego emerged.    You may remember Philip Chodur; he has been working with Bookmeyer, trying for years to build a hotel in downtown Mason City but has thus far failed to secure the financing to do so.   Chodur crossed the street from the parking lot / City Hall along 1st Street NW and was seen getting into a white compact car with Illinois license plates parked directly across from City Hall. He backed out of his parking space, drove about 30 feet east, and then pulled to the side of the street, stopping directly on a handicapped parking space. There he sat for nearly 5 minutes before he drove away.

Chodur sat in this idling car Friday afternoon.

The city continues to actively seek a hotelier to build a hotel in downtown Mason City.  Thursday, January 19, the City of Mason City released a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for the downtown hotel that is part of the River City Renaissance Project.  The City seeks potential developers for the hotel project, it proclaimed on its website.

A hotel is, again, crucial for the downtown Renaissance project.  Those private investment dollars could help unlock up to $10 million in state dollars toward the 5-point, $36 million project which included at one time a hotel, parking ramp, pavilion, mixed-use building and of course, a controversial multi-purpose ice arena.  The city will seek upwards of $18 million in bonds to finance the construction ($13 million) and lease ($5 million) of that structure that would be built in the former JC Penney building at Southbridge Mall.  On March 7, Mason City voters will decide if they trust Bookmeyer and the city council with a new Capitol Improvement Levy (tax) that could impose up to 67 cents of tax on property owners per $1,000 in valuation.

Public lot downtown Mason City, January 13, 2017. A hotel and parking ramp could be built here. Voters will have a big say in the future.

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Another shit story. Stop saying your reporting news and just call it an opinion

Life must be pretty boring and news short to come by if you are trailing these guys around all day and taking pics of the cars they driving. Can’t say it would be my first option.

Why cram everything into downtown.? I avoid it due to no parking. Why not go south to old sears mall that area sits empty. Build something multi functional and get some good concerts and restaurants locally so young people don’t have to go to Minneapolis or Des Moines. Not everybody likes hockey. Easy access off 218 looks like a big area for development and could help that end of town.

The arena proposed at Southbridge is a multi purpose facility that can be used for concerts and other events. To build a arena at the Sears site would require raising property taxes to repay General Obligation Bonds which would be needed to fund the construction. The Southbridge site would not affect property taxes because the private investment component of the River City Renaissance project creates the opportunity to access significant state dollars to fund the construction.

From Anonymous’

“Here is what we know. Two guys met in a bar. End of story. The rest is opinion, conjecture and fabrication.”

“Well of course the door to the restaurant would be locked at 2:45. The restaurant is not open during the afternoon. You can’t have random people just walking into a closed restaurant.”

Bookie was there planning his “retirement” party for when he is done being mayor. Need to make reservations/plans early if it is going to be at the Historic Park Inn. Maybe the upstairs party room at the chamber building was going to be too small?

Vote no on the tax levy on 3/7.. And, vote no on the downtown project when that comes up !

Yeah! To heck with growth! Mason City needs to keep dwindling in population! And how dare the city try to issue bonds with historically low interest rates for future capital expenditures that are going to be made regardless!!! All tax payers should pay more for these purchases in the future when interest rates rise!!!!! NIT has the smartest readers anywhere!!!!

I am all for growth, but it would be nice to see something that will benefit the majority of our citizens, not just the top again. People just don’t realize how many low income people live in this town. But the census will tell you that the 75% of the population with a family of 4 makes $ 31,000 per year and less. They don’t go to the movies, it costs that family $ 56.00 if they want popcorn and pop. and then if you want candy… Costs $ 60.00 for that family to attend a NI Bulls game, A concert at NIACC for 4 depends on the show, but , $ 100.00 minimum., If we spent this kind of money attracting decent businesses to invest in Mason City with decent paying jobs with benefits, that would be different. I see that we are again trying to put the cart before the horse.!

Just think how stupid he will look when we vote this down.

Here is what we know. Two guys met in a bar. End of story. The rest is opinion, conjecture and fabrication.

Well of course the door to the restaurant would be locked at 2:45. The restaurant is not open during the afternoon. You can’t have random people just walking into a closed restaurant.

Sneaky little rascals – those liberals – always thinking of a way to put the scews to someone. EVIL ! Drain your swamp before its too late.

Eric the Red is an active Republican and close butt buddies with Gov Bumsted.

The levy is nothing but a slush fund that they can use however they want. Any time they get their hands on free money (ours) they waste it. VOTE NO.

The Improvement Levy is in disguise for a way to get more money to pour into the hotel/arena project. Its a capital improvement fund and what is building these worthless buildings? capital improvement. VOTE NO

How many boozes did Eric order

Hey NIT, stalker much?

Mason Shitty is a Trap after living there for 35 years I moved to Minnesota! I am the happiest I’ve ever been since I’ve been on the planet!


Why don’t we get a little more creative. We need a reason for people to come to Mason other than a hockey arena. Build on the Music Man theme. Do some brainstorming. How about a music museum. A small recording studio that anyone could ‘cut an album’ for fun. A room where people could try out any instrument. Dancing lessons. Interactive displays. A theater that showed musicals of all types. A small casino with the Music Man it T for Trouble casino. A pool hall. Include an indoor Waterpark similar to the one near Owatonna at this hotel. Hell, local people would take their families to this during the long winter season here in north iowa. We need a reason to build this hotel. They aren’t going to come because we build it. That’s only in the movies.

Interesting ideas. But we need population for such things to become reality and every time economic development comes along that could grow the population the anti crowd rears it’s ugly head. Not to mention outsiders from Ankeny who should just stay away.

Music Man Square already has a recording studio, music instruments to try out, dance lessons, a theater and several other things you mentioned. The reason it exists is to build on the “Music Man” theme, and that’s now failing. The only people who remember the movie fondly are getting too old, and younger people don’t know or care about it. It’s on the ropes for that reason, and because it’s been horribly mismanaged pretty much from day one.

Absolutely right on !

I hope the hotel arena all of it goes and gets done and as for the tax I have no problem paying more. You peasants that serve my fries and cut my grass and shovel my walk need to get an education! You can’t afford to live here then move along! We don’t need you!

Or you will just be a snob living amongst all the meth heads, rubbing elbows at the grocery store. All the while your wife is getting railed by the lawn keeper, and your daughter knocked up by a Chicago import.

@ Realty, your right, alot of good people see their girl’s get knocked up by these Chicago and Detroit people. Not a good thing. It use to be illegal for this kind of mixing people, I pray God it get’s back to not being legal. Too many of their kind here, this must stop. We see alot of fat dumb white girls not working with their babies and they are on welfare. Mixed. Got to stop this, it is crazy.

If you think being a member of the Mason city country club makes you above others, you need to really up your game. The country club is a run down drunk hangout. I feel sorry for anyone who thinks like you. Those who are actually wealthy dont even associate with idiot rednecks like yourself. You may not think you are an idiot, but your comment speaks for itself. Those fast food workers, and yard workers ect are what drive an economy. The same economy that you supposibly became wealthy off of. Without the majority “mid to low income” purchasing goods and services, you wouldnt even have business owners making a killing off of others hard work. Its people who have never had to actually work that seem to find is easy to put down others. You went to college, but did you pay for it yourself? How much help did you receive from others? Did you have to actually work for your position, or was it handed to you? Showing up is not working, just so we clarify that. Id like to see your hands, i bet they are soft like the little bitch you are.

Time out people, don’t you know a troll when you see one? This person is just trolling to goad a response. Fake news.

Go Bookmeyer, get this thing built! Grow this town!

@anonymight. This will continue to hurt the town. Only a fool would build a hotel in downtown Mason City. What you dumbbells don’t seem to understand is, there is no money in this little town.

You need commerence and Mason City is a shrinking population with no real vision to build for the future.

Building a hotel in the non downtown Mason City would be a bad bad investment by any hotel chain.

Time to get real.

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