MASON CITY | The City Council learned Tuesday night there are many "i's" yet to be dotted and "t's" crossed before a development agreement can be reached with Gatehouse Capital.
David Rachie of Gatehouse gave council members an update on Gatehouse's plan to build a 106-room Hyatt Place hotel in the Southbridge parking lot, connect it to The Music Man Square via a skywalk and build a conference center inside The Music Man Square.
"The most important thing — the city's return on investment will be huge," he said.
But City Administrator Brent Trout said there are many details to be worked out before the Oct. 17 vote on a final development agreement.
The development agreement must be in place by Oct. 17 in order to keep with a timetable for securing what the city hopes will be $10 million in state funding to help leverage the $38 million River City Renaissance downtown project.
"Some information is lacking," Trout told council members. "We don't have financing locked in because we don't have an agreement finalized," he said.
Also, said Trout, Hyatt has agreed in principle to be the franchisee but that too is dependent on the development agreement.
Rachie told the council there are some details still to be worked out but declined to discuss them because he did not want to negotiate in public.
Another possible pitfall: "If we change the development agreement in favor of the developer, we could be challenged," said Trout, meaning another developer could come forward with a plan.
Rachie said, "We don't have a deal yet. The lender doesn't have anything to say 'yes' to."
Council members urged all involved to bring forth a final development agreement by Oct. 17.
Councilmen Travis Hickey and Paul Adams said it was important for voters to know all the details before the Nov. 7 vote on a lease agreement for the ice arena (part of the Renaissance plan) and issuing up to $14 million in bonds for expenses related to the hotel project.
"We don't want to hurry but let's get it done quickly. People want to know what they're voting on," said Adams.
In other business, the council approved the final reading on an ordinance calling for the closing of the Ninth Street Northwest railroad crossing as part of the city's plan to create "quiet zones" to eliminate the noise train horns.