CORONAVIRUS

Cedar Rapids' DoubleTree Hotel and convention center to close temporarily due to impact of COVID-19

The  U.S. Cellular Arena and the U.S. Cellular Convention Center attached to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in downtown
The U.S. Cellular Arena and the U.S. Cellular Convention Center attached to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids. (Gazette File Photo)

CEDAR RAPIDS — The city-owned DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel and Convention Center complex is being closed temporarily effective today due to the impact of COVID-19.

The 16-story, 266 room hotel and convention center at 350 First Avenue NE are a catalyst of business and activity in Cedar Rapids, but the public health crisis has crippled the hospitality industry.

“The decision to suspend operations is a temporary measure reflective of the current business environment and not a result of illness or confirmed cases at the hotel,” according to a statement from the hotel.

A date for reopening was not provided.

The hotel is owned by the city of Cedar Rapids and managed by Hilton.

“We are committed to fully restoring operations at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex and look forward to welcoming guests and Team Members back as soon as possible,” said Jay Anderkin, the hotel’s general manager.

Guests and staff were being notified on Thursday. The parent company is “partnering with leading companies to connect Team Members from hotels that have temporarily suspended hotel operations to more than 350,000 short-term jobs created by the global pandemic.”

It is unclear how many staff have been impacted by the decision.

Questions to the Cedar Rapids Tourism office and VenuWorks, which manages the tourism office, about hotel impacts in Cedar Rapids have not been returned.

In Johnson County, large hotels including Graduate Iowa City and hotelVetro, had previously closed. An official estimated occupancy at hotel across the area typically at 65 percent to 70 percent had fallen to 5 to 15 percent occupancy.

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The American Hotel and Lodging Association reports 1 million hotel jobs have been eliminated or will be in the next few week across the country, and hotels had already lost $2.4 billion in room revenue since mid-February.

Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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