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Mason City releases agreement with non-profit on multi-million dollar renovation of Music Man Square

Music Man Square

MASON CITY – Today, Mason City released a document detailing an agreement between the city and a local non-profit to renovate the Music Man Square as part of the downtown Renaissance Project.

The downtown Renaissance Project consists of a multi-purpose arena to be built in Southbridge Mall; a music pavilion also to be connected to the north side of the mall; a 106 room Hyatt Hotel from Gatehouse Mason City, LLC; and a museum and conference center to be built in the current Music Mason Square. Lastly, a skywalk owned and maintained by the city of Mason City would be attached to the hotel.

The Music Man Square Complex & Hotel will cost in the neighborhood of $18.25 Million
(Click image to view larger)

Supporters of the project say “The Music Man Square Complex & Hotel will be an integrated hotel and convention center projected to draw up to 40,000 visitors per year. This unique, ‘Disney-quality’ convention center will make it a crown jewel of the Midwest.”

Crucial items on the November 7 ballot will decide the fate of the project: 1) A lease between the city of Mason City and Kohan Real Estate; and 2) up to $14 million in general obligation bonds to finance parts of the project.

Music Man Square is owned by the Mason City Foundation, county records show.

Highlights of the agreement are below. The entire agreement is at the bottom of this story.

The Mason City Foundation is an Iowa nonprofit corporation duly organized and validly existing under the laws of the State of Iowa. According to the agreement released today by city hall, it has all requisite power and authority to own and operate its properties, to carry on its business as now conducted and as presently proposed to be conducted, and to enter into and perform its obligations under this Agreement.

The Foundation will cause the Museum Improvements and Convention Center Improvements to be constructed. The Foundation will use its best efforts to obtain or cause to be obtained, in a timely manner, all required permits, licenses, and approvals, and will meet, in a timely manner, all requirements of all applicable local, State, and federal laws and regulations which must be obtained or met before the Museum Improvements and Convention Center Improvements may be lawfully constructed.

Mason City believes that the Museum Property has been underutilized and is in jeopardy of becoming a blighting influence on the community.

The acquisition of the Museum Property and construction of the New Museum will require a total investment of approximately $1,500,000. The construction of the Convention Center Improvements will require a total investment of approximately $3,000,000.

The Foundation will cooperate fully with the City in resolution of any traffic, parking, trash removal or public safety problems which may arise in connection with the construction and operation of the New Museum and Convention Center Improvements.

The Foundation expects that, barring unavoidable delays, the new Museum will be completed by December 31, 2018 and Convention Center improvements will be completed by December 31, 2019.

The City has been presented with a proposal to be undertaken by the Foundation to develop the Museum Property into a Meredith Willson museum, renovate the current Music Man Square, and require certain other improvements to be undertaken by the Foundation.  The Foundation is willing to cause a New Museum to be constructed on the Museum Property and Convention Center Improvements to be constructed on the Convention Center Property and the Foundation will thereafter cause the same to be operated in accordance with this Agreement; and Gatehouse and the Foundation have entered into a memorandum of understanding as a precursor to the final agreement for the renovation, management and operation of the Convention Center Property.

The City anticipates issuing one or more municipal bonds or notes (possibly up to $14 million if voters approve the ballot measure on November 7) to finance construction of the Convention Center Improvements, Museum Improvements and Skywalk Improvements.


The Music Man Square Complex & Hotel $18.25 Million

Convention Center – $1 million
– Reinvestment District Funding
Hotel – $15 million
– Private Loan $9,250,000, Equity $1,500,000, & Interest Free Loan $4,250,000
Museum – $750 thousand
– Reinvestment District Funding
Skywalk – $1.5 Million
– Reinvestment District Funding and TIF funds

Multi-Purpose Arena $12.55 Million

$4.6 million – Iowa Reinvestment Act District
$4.25 million – City of Mason City TIF
$2 million – Mason City Youth Hockey
$1.2 million – Local Option Sales Tax
$500 thousand – Cerro Gordo County

Performing Arts Pavilion $1.65 Million

$1.65 million – Reinvestment District Funding

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