- Associated Press - Friday, January 9, 2015

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - A developer has proposed building a $33 million, 12-story hotel in Iowa City, but the plans are contingent on lots of financial help from the city.

Kinseth Hospitality, of North Liberty, has submitted plans for the 144-room Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, according to the Iowa City Press-Citizen (https://icp-c.com/1BIXEIT ). The building would include a meeting and events center and a rooftop restaurant, and would be the first nationally branded hotel to open downtown since 1984.

It would be located near the University of Iowa campus and across the street from the School of Music building, which is under construction and set to open in 2016.

“We’ve worked long and hard on a plan for this site and to get a good hotel downtown,” said Ben Kinseth, the company’s director of operations and asset management. “We’ve always believed the site is a phenomenal site for a hotel, and the downtown market is underserved.”

Kinseth is seeking $8.8 million in financial help from the city. City staff has suggested meeting that request with tax-increment rebates and grants as well as money from hotel-motel tax revenue. Tax-increment funds come from making use of property tax dollars that increase because of a development.

The city would pay the refunds over 13 years.

Plans call for work on the hotel to begin this fall and for it to open in mid-2017. The hotel would employ 150 people. Kinseth operates more than 75 hotels across the Midwest.

Iowa City Economic Development Administrator Jeff Davidson said the new hotel rooms would help attract downtown events.

“We have for some time been interested in expanding the hotel capacity downtown because it has limited the events we can have downtown,” Davidson said.

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, https://www.press-citizen.com/

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