CORALVILLE — The Coralville City Council on Tuesday night agreed to guarantee up to $50 million in loans needed to make the 5,716-seat Iowa Arena a reality.
City officials are hoping to break ground on the project, located in the Iowa River Landing, in mid-April, Mayor John Lundell said.
City Administrator Kelly Hayworth told the council Tuesday night’s vote was the first of many development and loan agreements the council will see.
“This will be just the first of many actions that will need to be taken,” Hayworth said. “I encourage people to continue to follow those particular developments.”
ArenaCo is the community development corporation formed by the city to build the Iowa Arena project.
A community development corporation, or a CDC, is a nonprofit run by a board of directors, which can apply for grants or other funding not open to a city, Lundell said.
Its revenue sources will include arena naming rights and tax credits, rather than property taxes, Lundell said.
He said ArenaCo has a naming rights agreement, which he hopes the city can announce at the groundbreaking.
Other developments also are planned around the 5,716-seat arena at 200 E. Ninth St., including a fitness and sports performance institute, museums, a Staybridge Suites hotel and a field house.
“It’s just a reward to see how far it’s come,” Lundell said, noting the project wasn’t without its challenges, like the controversy over Von Maur leaving Iowa City for the Iowa River Landing in Coralville.
“This is another big step for us, and I just can’t wait for it to be started and completed,” he said.
The city and ArenaCo chose Spectra to manage the arena and handle bookings, ticket sales and gameday operations, Lundell said. Spectra also manages the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
ArenaCo also has secured a lease to house the University of Iowa’s women’s volleyball team and is searching for an ice hockey team to share the arena.
Officials from the U.S. Hockey League for junior ice hockey have visited, as have officials from the East Coast Hockey League, a midlevel professional league, according to documents Hayworth has sent to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.
“We’re on our way,” council member Tom Gill said during the meeting, thanking those who have worked on the project.