Coralville arena one step closer to reality

Image via City of Coralville
Image via City of Coralville

People may be going to hockey games and concerts come 2019 if progress on a new Coralville arena in the Iowa River Landing District continues as planned. Yet another item was checked off the to-do list earlier this week following a Coralville City Council meeting that approved a plan to collect $12 million in sales and hotel taxes in the Iowa River Landing Reinvestment District over a 20-year period to help pay for the project.

What is the arena?

  • Where will it be built? In the Iowa River Landing District in Coralville, which is located off Interstate 80 at First Avenue.
  • How big will it be? It will be able to fit up to 6,216 people.
  • What is it for? Hockey, primarily. The arena will be home to the University of Iowa Club Hockey Team and the Iowa City-Coralville Hockey Association youth teams. It is also a possible home for a United States Hockey League team, which is currently under negotiations and city officials hope to be able to make an announcement by the beginning of 2017. The arena could host other events as well including indoor athletic events and tournaments, concerts and special events.
  • What is the Iowa River Landing District? There’s a lot going on in the 180-acre Iowa River Landing District. There’s already a Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, University of Iowa Health Care clinic, Von Maur and other retail and restaurant spots. The arena is just the first step in further development plans that are estimated to cost more than $190 million. A fitness and sports performance institute with space for sports training and other sports science and training related offices would be connected to the arena. There are also plans build two new hotels, including a Drury Inn, and a permanent home for the Antique Car Museum of Iowa and the Johnson County Society Historical Museum close to the arena site.
  • Image via City of Coralville
    Image via City of Coralville
  • How much will it cost? The arena project is expected to cost $45 million.
  • Who’s paying? The Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Reinvestment District program contributed $12 million in funding. The city is donating the land. Additional funds will come from private financing or fundraising. The Johnson County Board of Supervisors voted earlier this year to contribute $200,000 to relocated the museums.
  • Why should I care? All told, the Iowa River Landing District projects are expected to have an economic impact of more than $1.4 billion in consumer spending over a 20-year period and to support over 500 jobs annually.
  • What’s next? The city will be hiring a construction group for the arena project and working on final design, which is expected to be completed in the spring of 2017.
Image via City of Coralville
Image via City of Coralville

What’s Happened So Far?

  • March 2015 — Coralville city officials requested $12 million in funding in a pre-application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s Reinvestment District program. The program provides up to $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to be reinvested in approved reinvestment districts.
  • June 2015 — The Iowa Economic Development Authority board gave preliminary approval for more than $9.5 million in funding and invited the city to submit a full application.
  • March 2016 — City officials submitted a final application.
  • June 2016 — The board approved $12 million in funding. In order to get the funds, city officials still have to submit final information about the project, like the developer and contractor and finalized funding.
  • Sept. 2016 — The Coralville City Council voted to approve the agreement between the Iowa Economic Development Authority and the City of Coralville. Under the agreement, the city can collect $12 million in sales and hotel taxes in the Iowa River Landing Reinvestment District over the next 20 years to help pay for the project. The reinvestment district includes the arena project, the future Drury Inn and some mixed-use buildings, one of which is already built.
  • June 2017 (Tentative) — Construction begins.
  • April 2019 (Tentative) — Construction complete.

Source: City of Coralville website

Image via City of Coralville
Image via City of Coralville

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