Reinvestment District Program Sparks New Life in Iowa Communities
Iowa Reinvestment District Program Opens for New Projects February 22, 2021
The Iowa Reinvestment District Program is designed to assist communities in developing transformative projects that improve the quality of life, create and enhance unique opportunities and substantially benefit the community, region and state. An eligible project within the Iowa Reinvestment District is a vertical improvement constructed or substantially improved within a district.
In FY 2021, the Iowa Legislature has appropriated $100 million in new state hotel/motel and sales tax revenues to the Reinvestment District Program. IEDA is accepting pre-applications from communities for the Iowa Reinvestment District Program during the annual filing window of February 22 – 25, 2021.
Take a look at how Reinvestment District funds have been used in previous grant cycles and how communities have built transformational projects.
Coralville: Iowa River Landing
Iowa River Landing is a premiere destination and gateway to the Coralville community, offering cultural attractions, a conference center, boutique retail, unique restaurants, entertainment, world class health care, private residences, outdoor parks and wetlands, museums and much more.
The $12 million reinvestment project award brought new opportunity to the Iowa River Landing District, including mixed-use office and residential space, additional hotel capacity and a new transportation facility that would connect Iowa River Landing to downtown Iowa City and the University of Iowa.
Serving as a district anchor, the 6,216 seat multi-use arena and fitness/sports performance center would be a catalyst for the already thriving area and would enhance its reputation as a major regional attraction and provide new experiences and opportunities for residents and visitors alike.
Update: Since the original proposal, Coralville’s Iowa River Landing Reinvestment District debuted the Xtream Arena and Greenstate Family Fieldhouse in August 2020.
Des Moines: Iowa Convention & Entertainment Reinvestment District
Located in Downtown Des Moines, the Iowa Convention and Entertainment Reinvestment District proposed to transform the area surrounding the Iowa Events Center (IEC) and connect the IEC to other bustling downtown areas.
For this district, the potential of the Iowa Reinvestment District Program is realized by the redevelopment of essential downtown sites, including the transformation of an office building into a new full-service 330-room, 235,000 square-foot convention hotel. The new hotel would feature a ballroom, meeting space, a full-service restaurant and bar, underground parking and various luxury amenities for guests to enjoy throughout the year.
Other key investments to the district included the preservation of significant architecture, enhancement of surrounding infrastructure, improving walkability throughout downtown and connecting popular surrounding destinations including the IEC, Principal Riverwalk, the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines and Cowles Commons, the East Village, Court Avenue and Western Gateway Park.
The redevelopment of this district through several key renovations proposed to increase tourism in the state, maximize the economic impact downtown and improve the quality of life in Des Moines for years to come.
Update: Since the original proposal, the Des Moines Iowa Convention and Entertainment Reinvestment District opened the Hilton Des Moines Downtown Hotel in March 2018.
Grinnell: Historic Downtown & Campus Confluence Reinvestment District
The Grinnell Historic Downtown and Campus Confluence Reinvestment District (the Grinnell District) is located on 25 acres of land downtown in the Grinnell Cultural and Historic District and on the southwest corner of the Grinnell College campus.
The Grinnell District plan included the redevelopment of the Grinnell Community Center, an old schoolhouse, into a boutique hotel and event center as well as two Downtown Public Investment Projects - the enhancement of Central Park featuring a new performance stage, pavilion, open air gathering space, play areas and other essential amenities.
The reinvestment would also develop a mixed-use area at the confluence of Grinnell's Historic Downtown and the Grinnell College Campus with a new Campus Store serving as the anchor tenant for this redevelopment.
The reinvestment plan was comprised of mixed-used development projects to reshape the historic downtown district, spark economic growth and serve as a catalyst for further downtown development and revitalization.
Update: Since the original proposal, the Grinnell District unveiled Hotel Grinnell in September 2017 and have continued to revitalize the downtown area.
Mason City: River City Renaissance
The Mason City Downtown Reinvestment District, also named River City Renaissance, is located in the historic heart of Mason City. The District includes repurposing underutilized properties into a new hotel and conference center. The plan also includes emphasizing walkability and downtown character.
The district is comprised of Mason City’s iconic Southbridge Mall, representing the city’s commitment to redevelopment, responsiveness to contemporary retail trends and the needs of the community. Plans for the downtown hotel include a four-story, 100-room hotel with guest amenities, a restaurant and flexible meeting space. Within this plan, the hotel is located south of the Southbridge Mall and would directly connect to the newly renovated Meredith Willson Museum and The Music Man Square Conference Center through the new South Delaware Avenue Skyway.
The enhancement plans for this district are uniquely Mason City with tributes to Meredith Willson and the city’s place in musical history. The addition of these developments would elevate the Southbridge Mall area and entire Mason City downtown area through increased tourism and local community participation, and would provide new opportunities for the future development of this community.
Update: Since the original proposal, the Mason City Downtown Reinvestment District debuted the Mason City Arena in December 2019 and broke ground December 2020 on the Principal Pavilion, a performing arts center which will be located at the north entrance to the Southbridge Mall.
Muscatine: Downtown Transformation
Muscatine’s Reinvestment District plan focuses on transformation of downtown space into a new four-star luxury boutique hotel and conference center with ample parking space that would add nearly 170 new parking spaces to the downtown district.
This district plan lends the opportunity to future growth of the district through newly added green space and mixed-use developments featuring residential, restaurant and retail space.
Update: Since the original proposal, The Merrill Hotel debuted in March 2018 as a Marriott International hotel and was named the best hotel in Iowa by U.S. News and World Report and TripAdvisor's Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best Award of 2020.
Waterloo: TechWorks Campus Reinvestment District
The mission of the TechWorks Campus Reinvestment District Project is to make Waterloo a center point of applied research and commercialization of advanced manufacturing, bioproducts and renewable energy technologies.
Development plans for the TechWorks buildings, which were repurposed space previously occupied by John Deere & Company, include a mixed-use business traveler-oriented 156-room hotel featuring meeting and conference room space and a dine-in restaurant. Additional plans include space for corporate training, light manufacturing tenants, private-sector lab tenants, an entrepreneur-driven industrial incubator and makerspace and University classrooms.
Update: Since the original proposal, the Techworks Campus Reinvestment District Project has unveiled the new Courtyard Waterloo Cedar Falls Marriott, the Blue Iguana restaurant and currently houses the University of Northern Iowa Metal Casting Center, the University of Northern Iowa and Hawkeye Community College Additive (3D) Manufacturing Center and Design Lab, the Iowa Advanced Manufacturing Network Hub, Cedar Valley Makers, the offices of Grow Cedar Valley and the John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum.