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Risk Vs Rewards on Coralville's Iowa River Landing

View of growing businesses surrounding Marriott Hotel and Conference Center on Iowa River Landing

CORALVILLE, Iowa (CBS2/FOX28) - When dirt began moving on the Iowa River banks just off from I-80 more than a dozen years ago, most people had no idea what was about to rise from the flood plain. Some warned it was a bad idea and when the new Marriott Hotel and Conference Center sat alone for years with the red letters shining in the dark in the middle of a vast parcel of otherwise empty land, others questioned the city’s $56-Million dollar investment.City Administrator Kelly Hayworth admits the first years for the Iowa River Landing were tough as Coralville leaders took the initiative and decided to make something happen. But he says they went in with their eyes wide open, “For me to say that there isn’t any risk would obviously be naïve.” Hayworth says Coralville has a history of hospitality and hotels welcoming travelers and sports fans. But when the city couldn’t find a private investor to step up and help realize the dream for the Marriott and the Landing, they decided to fuel their own future, “ The council made the decision that we’re going to step forward and we’re going to build this facility.” After those first lean years, the city watched as a building boom finally began to echo all around their project. Von Maur, Backpocket Brewing, 30hop, Luxe Interiors, Wine Styles along with dozens of other shops, restaurants, condos and even other hotels sprung up. The 180 acres at Exit 242 suddenly came to life. Backpocket GM Aaron Vargas says the Landing gave the hops and barley crew a foundation to expand to Dubuque and a beautiful new space in Cedar Rapids in the former Sokol Gym on 3rd Street.He says the new bars and businesses on the Iowa River Landing have actually meant more customers sampling their Slingshot and Raygun brews, “ We look at it as the more competition we see, brings in more people to the area. So all the restaurants and the variety of businesses that are there with the condos and Marriott hosting all the Big Ten teams and everything, the more people flooding down there the better.” Hayworth says with a Trader Joes on the way and plans to break ground in November on a new sports arena, the risk is definitely bringing rewards, “ We’ve seen additional development occur, we’ve seen meetings come in that we never would have been able to host before because we just didn’t have large enough facilities.”

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