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A look at the differences between developers for downtown project

Development surprised many at council meeting.

Posted: Nov. 23, 2017 8:47 AM

MASON CITY, Iowa- As many people awaited to hear the development agreement between Gatehouse Capital and the city of Mason City, a bombshell was dropped as the council reviled another developer, G8 Development, had placed a competitive bid for the project.

It's a move that had many in a mix of emotions.

“It's a super good idea,” says Elizabeth Henrich of Mason City. “I think that now that new businesses are opening up across town, the center of the town and all the history gets neglected. I think bringing more people downtown and bringing new things in this area would add more profit.”

“You have to give them a second chance,” says Mary Rohne, of Mason City. “There's always hope, especially when you're trying to develop a city.”

You may remember that G8 Development had the original proposal to head the River City Renaissance Project, but failed to break ground. City staff at the time stated that the company was not able to get the funding in place..

They have now submitted a similar project to Gatehouses but with a couple of differences.

In the Gatehouse proposal, they are asking for $150 thousand upfront while G8 says they don’t need any upfront.

• Gatehouse is asking for $750 thousand in pre-construction costs while G8 says they will foot the bill if they are unable to complete the project.

• City leaders say they will both require about the same about in loan money. Gatehouse Capital is asking the city to pay $1.2 million in interest. G8 is proposing that they pay the interest.

• In the Gatehouse proposal the Mason City Chamber Foundation is the guarantor of the loan while in the G8 plan they list themselves as the guarantor.

• Gatehouse Capital is proposing a Hyatt Hotel with 106 rooms be built for their project but lack a final agreement with Hyatt. G8 has a plan to build a Marriott and has a franchise agreement.

Even though many are split on what the city should do, they say they want to see the project come to fruition.

“I want to see more people back in Central Park and in the mall,” says Henrich. “The mall has had a lot of things shut down so I think by adding hockey arena and bring more people.”

“You have to make a compromise especially in this situation,” says Rohne. “I think cheaper will be fine, less money from the city.”

The bid-off will take place Monday between the two developers. City staff has outlined the process as a three hour long negotiation where both developers can make changes to their proposals. Following the bid off a special city council meeting will be held where the council will vote on the proposal that is a better fit for the city.

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