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CBJ REPORT: New owners giving last Heartland Inn a fresh look

The Heartland Inn is in a prime location across from the University of Iowa baseball complex, and is the closest hotel to the UI's Kinnick Stadium and Carver Hawkeye Arena. Architecturally, it consists of two mirror-image two-story buildings constructed at different times, connected by a single ground-floor lobby area.

Every week, the Corridor Business Journal shares stories it's working on with CBS 2 News. Here are some of their top stories that will appear in Monday's edition of the CBJ.

New owners giving last Heartland Inn a fresh look

A Des Moines company that acquired that 169-room Heartland Inn on the Coralville strip has completed the first stage in a major renovation to better position it against an onslaught of new hotel competition in the University of Iowa area.

TMG Management of Des Moines acquired the hotel at 87 Second St. for just under $10 million from a real estate investment company based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Heartland Inn is in a prime location across from the University of Iowa baseball complex, and is the closest hotel to the UI's Kinnick Stadium and Carver Hawkeye Arena. Architecturally, it consists of two mirror-image two-story buildings constructed at different times, connected by a single ground-floor lobby area.

Since acquiring the hotel in April, TMG has expanded and renovated the lobby, and refurbished the ground-floor guest rooms and indoor pool area. The hotel has remained open throughout the process with high occupancy, and work has now moved on to the second floor level, according to Sales Director Caitlyn Robert.

TMG has been an experienced operator of multifamily rental housing in Central Iowa, and the Heartland Inn is its first foray into the lodging industry.

"They see this as an opportunity to make an investment in the city rather than just a quick way to make a buck," Ms. Robert said.

Main Street restaurants to celebrate Iowa Restaurant Week

Three Main Street Iowa communities in the Corridor will celebrate Main Street Iowa Restaurant Week beginning this weekend with a variety of special offers and menus.

More than a dozen restaurants in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village – New Bohemia Main Street District, Mount Vernon and West Branch will participate in the statewide promotion, intended to encourage Iowans to visit and patron locally owned establishments.

“People crave authentic dining experiences when they travel; they want to eat where the locals frequent,” Shawna Lode, manager of the Iowa Tourism Office, said in a press release. “Main Street Iowa Restaurant Week is a terrific opportunity for Iowans to explore locally owned restaurants in their own backyards and for visitors to enjoy our wealth of undiscovered restaurants.”

Cedar Rapids will also serve as host to three special events during the 10-day event, including Brewnost at the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library. Both Mount Vernon and West Branch will offer community-wide “passports” rewarding diners for visiting local restaurants.

Coffee cafe and roastery, brewery coming to Kingston Village

The emerging Kingston Village neighborhood in Cedar Rapids is set to get its first coffee roastery within the next month and a half.

Dash Coffee Roasters is under development in the historic Rowell Hardware building at 120 Third Ave. SW. Owned by Phil and Rebecca Davidson, it will offer fresh-baked pie, coffee, deli-type food items and other baked goods in a nearly 2,200-square-foot space.

"Where a lot of our passion lies is in developing community," said Ms. Davidson, who works at Cafe Muse in North Liberty. They are excited to see the amount of multifamily residential growth in the area, and a new microbrewery, Thew Brewing, opening about one block away.

Dash's full kitchen will turn out fresh pies and other baked goods, while the coffee concept will include a pour-over bar and cold-brewed coffees, including a New Orleans-style cold brew with brown sugar and chicory. The menu will include breakfast sandwiches and deli-style foods for lunch. Hours will be 6 a.m.-6 p.m. weekdays, and 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays.

The original building at 120 Third Ave. SW was acquired by Rowell Hardware Development LLC, which received tax credits under the state's brownfield tax credit program for a roughly $2.5 million project to renovate the historic structure. The company's Joshua Bass told the CBJ last year that the upper area of the building will be converted into two large apartments. A newer ground-level addition to the building is home to Express Employment Services.

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