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Rethinking the Marriott;

Proposals take different approach to save $10M

Adam Pracht

Iowa City Press-Citizen

February 8, 2005

[Note: This material is copyright by the Press-Citizen, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use requires the prior approval of the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Not reproduced here are the accompanying stories regarding the details of the proposals from Miron Construction, Mortenson and Ryan Construction.]

Here's the challenge: Build a new Marriott hotel and conference center for Coralville, creatively saving about $10 million. Ready? Go.

That is what Coralville asked from potential builders after initial bids on the planned hotel and conference center came in at more than $10 million above estimates in November 2004. City leaders then turned to a turnkey system as an alternative.

Pursuing a turnkey agreement, city leaders asked builders to submit proposals by Jan. 15, showing how they would save money to bring the hotel within budget. The builders would agree to complete the project for a set price before selling it to the city at an agreed-upon date when they would turn over the key.

City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said the builders were told to shoot for $48 million, not including furniture, fixtures, equipment and administration costs.

The entire project -- proposed for the east end of Ninth Street and anchoring redevelopment of the old industrial park southeast of Interstate 80 and First Avenue -- should cost $60 million.

Coralville's original plans called for a nine-story, 280-room hotel with an adjoining restaurant and a conference center to include 30,000-square-feet of meeting space, a little more than six basketball courts.

On Jan. 21, the last of three potential builders presented their plans, and now city consultants are taking the next several weeks deciding what plan to recommend. Groundbreaking is still two or three months off.

"I thought all of them were being very creative," Hayworth said.

"Each one was different and had lots of options, and that's why it takes a while to go through and make sure we have apples to apples."

Even as Coralville reviews the plans, the following information gleaned from public records allows the average citizen to look at the options for themselves.