MASON CITY — Philip Chodur has a message for the people of Mason City.
“We’re gonna do the hotel,” he said Tuesday.
Chodur, president of G8 Development in San Diego, is in default in his agreement with the city to start construction on the proposed Courtyard by Marriott hotel, to be built in what is now the parking lot adjacent to City Hall.
The deadline for starting construction was Monday. Chodur could not meet the deadline because he does not have financing in place.
Terms of the agreement he has with the city provide him with 30 days from the notice of default to correct the situation or the deal is off.
The original agreement called for construction to start on July 31. In June Chodur asked for a six-month extension but was granted three months by the City Council.
“I knew this was going to take time to get the financing,” he said Tuesday. “There are a lot of moving parts. We applied some places (out of state) and didn’t get turned down but it would just take too much time to get everything in place. We wouldn’t have met the deadline.
“We’re working with First Citizens Bank in Mason City now,” Chodur said. “I’m confident we’ll get this done.”
He said he has signed a construction management contract with Henkel Construction Co., and WHKS Engineers will be the civil engineers for the project.
“We’re trying to put money into the local economy,” Chodur said.
He said he has invested close to $600,000 in the hotel project so far. “Architects, engineers, attorneys — it all adds up,” he said.
Chodur said he is aware of the skepticism of people who think the project is dead.
“I don’t understand the negativity in this town, but there’s a lot of it,” he said.
“I have been working with Brent (Trout), Eric (Bookmeyer) and Steven (Van Steenhuyse) all along and it has been good,” he said, referring to the city administrator, mayor and development director.
“Some people would like to see the ship sink just so they can say ‘I told you so,’ but we’re going to get this done,” he said.
For years, Chodur has thought a downtown hotel could be successful. In 2013 he proposed building a Hilton hotel in the same location downtown, but could not reach agreement with Hilton.
In 2014, he came back to the city with a proposal to build the Marriott. The City Council gave him the exclusive right to try to develop it, but put deadlines on it that he has not been able to meet.
City Administrator Brent Trout said Monday there is sequence of events that must happen. Chodur needs financing in order to secure a performance bond, both of which must happen before construction can start.
Chodur knows how it works. “If you turn one spade of dirt, you don’t get the loan,” he said Tuesday.
In 2015, the stakes got a little higher for the hotel. The city included it in a $36.2 million downtown redevelopment plan that also includes a multi-use building, a parking ramp, a music pavilion and an ice arena/multipurpose center.
The city has been pre-approved for at least $7.2 million in state funding through the Iowa Reinvestment Act to help leverage the project, but one of the requirements is $10 million in private investment — and the hotel satisfies that requirement.
Chodur owns other properties in Mason City and has begun work to renovate them. He said he wants to put a brewery and beer garden in the former Marshall & Swift cleaners building, 214 N. Delaware Ave., and envisions what he called an Internet café at 16 S. Federal Ave.