MASON CITY | The City Council voted 6-0 Thursday night to formally approve an agreement with G8 Development of San Diego to build a downtown hotel.
Outgoing Mayor Eric Bookmeyer, in his last action at a City Council meeting, signed the document. G8 President Philip Chodur had already signed it.
In contrast to recent meetings in which supporters of Gatehouse Mason City LLC pleaded with the council to approve Gatehouse — and G8 supporters were just as passionate, only four people spoke during a public hearing — two in favor of G8, two against.
Councilman John Lee, who abstained at the last council meeting rather than voting for G8, said Thursday he had some questions, including whether Chodur had dropped his lawsuit against the city.
Interim City Administrator Kevin Jacobson said the agreement calls for him to drop the suit within five days of the signing or he would be in default.
Councilman Travis Hickey said, "This is a huge positive for the community. We've got the project in place; we've got the developer in place; we've got the best deal in place.
Bill Schickel, an early Gatehouse supporter, said his many important conditions are being met — the lawsuit will be dropped; Chodur will be working with The Music Man Square on a memorandum of understanding; the development agreement is in place; and G8 financing will be finalized once the development agreement is signed.
"This is a great project," said Councilwoman Janet Solberg. "We need this to build on. We haven't seen the full potential of what's coming down the pipeline."
Steve Noto of HPI Hospitality, one of the local backers of G8, clarified a statement he made at a previous meeting. Noto had said G8 had a hotel under construction in Hawaii. Actually, he said, it's "under development, not under construction."
Now that a decision has been made, Noto urged the community to get behind the project and support it.
John Barron, president of the Mason City Foundation which oversees The Music Man Square, was a proponent of Gatehouse. He said after the meeting he will support the decision of the council.
"It's time to move on," he said.