Get used to construction, Mason City. More is coming, and that's a good thing.
As the Mason City Council and Gatehouse work through the fine construction details in a key portion of the River City Renaissance Project, the long-dreamed plan found another partner.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota-based Talon, LLC says it wants to build a four-story, 133-unit apartment complex between Southbridge Mall and the Winnebago River.
The location, currently an often-vacant parking lot, sits nicely within the redevelopment district, and Talon CEO Steve Boote is giddy about Mason City.
"I couldn't be more excited to be here," Boote said. "This is as excited as I've been about any project in my career."
The Renaissance project has needed this energy boost for some time.
Talon has a background in building similar facilities and caters to communities like Mason City.
"We’re not big, but we’re not small either," Boote said. "We’re really well positioned to work in a rural area. We love rural. That’s what we love."
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The city will give Talon a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement. For an admittedly "underutilized" piece of property, this is a good deal for Mason City.
The city can add the investment to the larger Renaissance Project details, giving it some cushion as plans for the Gatehouse portion evolve. For the state funds, Mason City's project needs millions in private investment.
More acute, the apartment complex will fill a local housing gap. Living options are limited, notably in the middle range of pricing.
"You guys have a huge need, more than any of the other markets I've been in," Boote said.
A vibrant downtown was a Renaissance goal all along, and apartments were one of the hoped-for add-ons, some day, at some point.
That day, along with a hockey arena and convention center, could be a mere year away.
We welcome Talon and its vision.