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Aerials Mason City downtown

Mason City downtown

CHRIS ZOELLER, The Globe Gazette

MASON CITY | Byline Bank, headquartered in Chicago with a servicing branch in Indianapolis, has been identified as the lending bank for the downtown hotel in the River City Renaissance project.

Mason City's Director of Development Services Steven Van Steenhuyse released that information — along with other updates about the River City Renaissance project — to media outlets late Tuesday morning.

According to a letter he sent to Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) Program Manager Alaina Santizo late Monday, G8 President/CEO Philip Chodur has been working with an investment team that includes Byline Bank.

That team also consists of firm Thomas USAF and development consultant Lantern Capital Advisors, both based in Atlanta.

Michael Callas, a vice president for Byline Bank's Indianapolis branch, said in a letter to Van Steenhuyse he met with Chodur on April 30, and completed a term sheet for the $10 million loan, which would be 70 percent guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Business and Industry loan program.

According to the letter, credit underwriting and the USDA application package for the loan are still ongoing.

Callas could not be reached for comment via two phone calls and an email Tuesday.

Van Steenhuyse said in a brief interview Tuesday afternoon that the loan isn't closed yet, but added the letter from Byline Bank is a positive step.

"It’s not closed, the loan has to close before anyone can start spending," Van Steenhuyse said, adding: "My understanding of commercial loans, especially at this stage and with the letter, is they (G8 and Byline Bank) wouldn’t have gotten to this point if they weren’t committed."

Along with the Byline Bank letter, Chief Credit Officer Bob Klocke of First Citizens Bank in Mason City sent a letter to IEDA Board Chair Chris Murray May 10, outlining the process of the USDA guarantee to the loan application.

"While this certainly isn't a commitment from USDA, it gave me confidence (and I hope it will provide similar assurance to the IEDA board) that our hotel developer's credit application can proceed through the USDA pipeline with a postive outcome," Klocke wrote.

He could not be reached for comment by phone Tuesday afternoon.

More letters of support were penned by Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel, Mason City Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Robin Anderson and Mason City Foundation President Dalena Barz.

"While this project has experienced difficulty moving from concept to reality, we believe the end result of these often frustrating stops and starts will be a better project," Anderson wrote to Murray.

Callas anticipates Byline Bank and G8 Development will have a commitment letter finalized by June 30, according to his letter.

Contact Steve at 641-421-0527 or on Twitter @Steve_Bohnel.

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