Wright Hotel consultant being sought

 
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Note: Printed with Permission from The Globe-Gazette, article by John Skipper.
MASON CITY - Ever since talks began on refurbishing the former Park Inn hotel downtown, Alliant Energy and Heartland Properties, sponsors of the project, have emphasized the importance of city support.
The first down payment on that support will come Tuesday night when the Mason City Council will consider whether or not to hire an urban planning consultant to help with the project.
The Park Inn is the lone remaining hotel in the world designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The building currently houses the Chamber of Commerce at 15 W. State Street.
Heartland Properties, a subsidiary of Alliant, works on community projects in towns in which Alliant has offices. It has offered to restore the Park Inn to the way it looked 90 years ago. Heartland also wants to restore the adjacent building, housing Moorman Clothiers and McCoy Accounting. That building was formerly City National Bank, also designed by Wright.
Dean Baumgardner of Heartland said restoration of the buildings will be a boon to downtown Mason City and will attract thousands of tourists.
One of the commitments Heartland wants from the city is to provide adequate parking in the area of the hotel.
Community Development Director Tarek Moneir will ask the council Tuesday to hire Winter, Kramer and Jessup Architects (WKJ) from Boulder, Colo., for $5,700. Heartland has agreed to pick up $1,000 of the cost.
"As this project continues to evolve, the city must be prepared for the improvement and development of parking to facilitate access to the project," Moneir said in a memo to council members.
He said parking considerations would involve several properties and businesses in the vicinity of the project.

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