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Work starts on Clear Lake hotel and conference center as city aims to be 'oasis for tourism'

With a groundbreaking ceremony Monday morning, construction begins on the new hotel and conference center off of I-35 and Highway 122.

Posted: Jun 29, 2020 10:59 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2020 6:45 AM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - City leaders in Clear Lake were joined by the developers and land owners in breaking ground on the new hotel and convention center.

"We're really excited about this project. Especially the fact that it's moving forward with our current situation. It's a really high point for us this summer," said Libbey Hohn with the Clear Lake Area Chamber of Commerce

The ongoing threat of COVID-19 is not pushing back the development of the hotel and conference center in Clear Lake, according to Hohn.

City leaders, like Councilman Bennett Smith say the project is already generating buzz.

"We think this project will really accelerate that as a destination site with the conference center and whether it's weddings and other events. Frankly, we've had several parties inquire about that already," Smith said.

He says he's been impressed by the way all the parties involved with the deal have been able to fast track the project.

"With this recent developer, we were really able to put a deal together quickly in three months really. And so we're really excited about that and to be able to do that in such a short amount of time in this environment,"  he said.

With major cities two hours north and south of Clear Lake, Bennett thinks the hotel and conference center will be a real engine for growth in North Iowa.

"Between Des Moines and Minneapolis, Clear Lake is a real oasis for tourism and this project is going to continue to catalyze hat because you can come and stay at the Marriott hotel, be a part of the conference center for an event and come down and see the lake or go to the Surf."

Out-of-town visitors like Nan Baker are also thrilled to have the new Marriott as soon as next year.  She says hotels can be hard to snag during the busy summer tourist season.

"The idea that you have more accommodations to choose from is very appealing. In the past it has been tight," said Baker.

If there are no delays from coronavirus or harsh winter conditions, the hotel and conference center is slated to open in the summer of 2021.

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