NEWS

Iowa City may devote additional $1 million to downtown hotel

Its urban renewal plan previously authorized $7.1 million for it

A Hilton Garden Inn, shown in this design rendering, is proposed for 328 S. Clinton St. (Special to The Gazette from the city of Iowa City.)
A Hilton Garden Inn, shown in this design rendering, is proposed for 328 S. Clinton St. (Special to The Gazette from the city of Iowa City.)

IOWA CITY — A proposed amendment to the Iowa City Urban Renewal Plan would increase the amount of city aid allowed to be dedicated to a future hotel project by more than $1 million.

The Iowa City Council is scheduled Monday to open a public hearing on the 13th amendment to its roughly 45-year-old urban renewal plan.

This amendment would revise last year’s amendment, which included authorizing tax increment financing for a handful of projects including $7.1 million for Kinseth Hospitality Companies’ Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, proposed for 328 S. Clinton St.

The new amendment would bring that number up to no more than $8.9 million, due to an updated cost estimate.

“We had everything right except for the amount,” said Wendy Ford, Iowa City economic development coordinator. “When we amended that into the plan, the project wasn’t yet refined enough to have the final numbers.”

State code requires cities to list specific projects in their urban renewal plans but doing so doesn’t mean the project is approved — rather that the funding can be allocated, if an agreement is made.

Ford said the change in price reflects increased construction costs and some changes to the hotel design, which would be discussed at greater detail at a later meeting.

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“It’s undergone a lot of changes since then and that all changed the financial picture and the resulting gap of the project,” Ford said.

The city’s Economic Development Committee approved in January up to $8.8 million in financial aid, much of it to be covered with TIF rebates, for the roughly $33 million hotel.

While the public hearing is scheduled to open Tuesday, Ford said the council likely will hold off on discussion and keep the hearing open until the development agreement for the hotel is voted on, possibly as soon as the council’s March 23 meeting.

“We’re getting really close to having the development agreement for that hotel,” she said. “There are just a few things that need to get wrapped up on that.”

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