MASON CITY — The biggest of the contingencies extended by the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Board of Directors last week for Mason City’s River City Renaissance project was that the developer of the hotel needs to submit an acceptable letter to show that financing for the hotel construction has been committed no later than the end of March.

It was an issue that the board had with the hotel project’s previous developer, G8 Development of San Diego California, which ultimately led the city to declare G8 was in default of their development agreement since it put state financing for the project in jeopardy.

Gatehouse Capital’s David Rachie says while he’s talked with a number of potential financers for the project, one of the obstacles at this point is waiting for the Iowa Department of Transportation to approve the skywalk between the hotel, which will be located on the eastern side of Southbridge Mall’s main parking lot, and Music Man Square.   “Which really sets what level our first floor and our second floor are going to be, so you have to do all the civil engineering.  That is all complete, that plan is in place, it’s in front of the state Department of Transportation for final approval. We’ve got the final design which will be doing in the next two weeks, but we know it is, it’s just being drawn right now.”

Rachie says once the DOT approves the skywalk and the final design is in place, they’ll put the project out to bid.  “It’ll take two months to get our final bids, so really when you’re looking at the first of the year, that’s what we’re going to go out with their financing package. Although we’ve previewed it with financers, it’ll probably be March or April when we do the final close, and we’re looking at breaking ground this spring.”

The IEDA Board has contingently approved a maximum benefit of $9.2 million through the state’s Iowa Reinvestment Act for the $38 million project, which also includes the new multi-purpose arena scheduled to open in early December in the former JC Penney location of Southbridge Mall, as well as a performing arts pavilion on the mall’s north side.

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