MARION — Developers of a new hotel in Squaw Creek Crossing hope to attract business and leisure travelers to a Holiday Inn Express, with a tentative opening in February 2021.
The Marion City Council earlier this month approved site plans for a 93-room hotel at the site. The primary developer is Hart Family Hotels of Spencer.
Squaw Creek Development has been marketed as a large-scale, mixed-use development, situated on 20 acres on the northeast corner of Highways 13 and 151.
This past summer, the Prospect Meadows baseball complex opened at County Home Road and Highway 13. Two more sets of four fields are planned for 2023.
The facility will cater to local leagues and weekend tournaments. The primary tenant is Perfect Game USA, a Cedar Rapids baseball scouting company that has committed to bringing in 1,000 teams a year for the next 14 years.
Prospect Meadows will add demand for hotel rooms, said Mike Esker, Squaw Creek Crossing development partner.
“It’s a good fit with Prospect Meadows, open now, and will accommodate the anticipated numbers coming in,” he said.
A study conducted by Consultants Hospitality Marketers International in 2015 showed Marion needed a 100-room hotel that catered to business and leisure travelers. The study was commissioned by the city for $16,500.
Dave Hockett, principal planner with the city, said with Prospect Meadows and other development planned for Squaw Creek Crossing, it’s “just the perfect storm” to add another hotel.
“A lot of folks are finally realizing Marion is on the map,” he said.
The City Council initially approved a Country Inn and Suites last year, but changed direction when Hart Family Hotels said it could get the city a “better brand,” said Troy Hart, with Hart Family Hotels.
With only three hotels within Marion city limits, Hart said a lot of people with business in Marion end up staying in Cedar Rapids instead.
“We feel like many of those customers would prefer to be in Marion, and we’re going to offer that opportunity to them,” he said.
The hotel will create 25 jobs. Hart Family Hotels is investing $3 million and borrowing the rest. Hart said the company expects to break ground in April 2020.
Earlier this year, a Pizza Ranch FunZone Arcade, managed by Lion Development Group, was approved to move in to Squaw Creek Crossing. It is expected to open in the spring and create up to 90 jobs.
Last year, Dupaco Community Credit Union opened its first branch in Marion in the Squaw Creek Development, at 5970 Carlson Way.
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