MASON CITY | Interim City Administrator Kevin Jacobson assured the City Council and the public Tuesday night that the G8 proposal for a downtown hotel is "consistent" with the proposal offered by Gatehouse Mason City LLC.

"It is in the same location (Southbridge south parking lot), with hotel, skywalk, convention area and museum. Nothing has changed," he said.

Mayor Eric Bookmeyer asked Jacobson for the clarification at Tuesday night's council meeting.

He said there had been some confusion in the community, apparently because G8 had proposed a hotel last year in the parking lot west of City Hall, a plan that never panned out.

Phillip Chodur of G8 sued the city and the Chamber of Commerce for obstructing his plans. In his latest proposal, he agreed to drop his lawsuit if the council approved his plan. 

The lawsuit remained active as of Wednesday evening, according to court records. 

Bookmeyer asked Jacobson to clarify G8's proposal, so people know that the plan remains for the hotel to be in the Southbridge lot "and there is no ambiguity about it."

The city had been working with Gatehouse on the downtown proposal for several months. When Gatehouse made several changes in the proposed development agreement with the city, that opened a 30-day window in which other proposals could be made.

G8 submitted a plan minutes before the deadline last month. The council considered its proposal "competitive." That set up a "bid-off" Nov. 27 at which time both developers could reshape their bids to try to get an edge on the other.

That night, on Jacobson's recommendation, the council voted 5-0 to go with G8, primarily because of the savings to taxpayers its bid represented.

Jacobson told the council Tuesday night G8 is working with LiveOak Bank in North Carolina on financing, and with First Citizens Bank in Mason City, which has expressed interest but has not committed support.

Also, he said, meetings are planned to work out a timeline to meet the requirement of the hotel being built by Dec. 31, 2019.

On Dec. 15, Jacobson, Bookmeyer and Steven Van Steenhuyse, director of development services, will go to Des Moines to update the Iowa Economic Development Authority on the latest developments.

The city is seeking up to $10 million in state funding through the Iowa Reinvestment Act to help leverage a $38 million downtown renovation plan that includes the hotel, the conference center in The Music Man Square, a performing arts pavilion and an ice arena/multipurpose center.

  

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