MASON CITY — Mason City’s mayor is happy that the City Council last week approved moving ahead with the finalization of the sale of the land where a Hyatt Place Hotel will be placed as part of the River City Renaissance project.

The council unanimously approved the sale of the land in the eastern portion of the Southbridge Mall parking lot to MCCCH Incorporated, headed by developer David Rachie. Construction on the hotel will be financed by loans from Stearns Bank which have been guaranteed by the United States Department of Agriculture. The city and developers need to close the deal by December 20th.

On today’s “Ask the Mayor” program on AM-1300 KGLO, Bill Schickel says the council unanimously approved an amendment to the development agreement.  “This is a big step forward. It’s really the last piece of the River City Renaissance project. Financing is in place by the Stearns National Bank of Minnesota, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”

Schickel says once completed it will be a one-of-a-kind hotel and convention center and will only add to the reputation of Mason City being a destination for the arts, architecture and outdoor recreation. “Obviously there’s been a lot of criticism of this, and that’s certainly understandable. People are frustrated that progress has not gone more rapidly. There’s no one more frustrated than me, but I think that persistence is the key here and I think that it’s going to eventually pay just to make a fabulous facility.”

The amendment increases the number of rooms in the hotel from 115 to 131 and moves the ballroom into the old Younkers store space in the mall. Schickel says that decision was made due to financing and a better use of the open mall space.  “You know we’ve got a lot of open space in the mall there, and the developers and their partners, who happen to also own the mall, thought it was a better arrangement to use that space there. I like it. I think that will be a great use of the space. It takes a formerly unoccupied space and makes it occupied and is another step in rejuvenating the mall. Increasing the room numbers too had to do with obtaining the financing and making sure there’s proper cash flow of the facility.”

Construction is expected to start by next April and take about 18 months to complete, with the hotel being open in the fall of 2025.

You can listen back to more of Schickel’s comments from the “Ask the Mayor” program by heading to the audio player below