The largest hotel in downtown Cedar Rapids could have a new owner soon — the City of Cedar Rapids. City leaders want to buy the 16-story Crowne Plaza which has fallen into disrepair. The Crowne Plaza reopened for business after it was flooded in 2008, but previous owners have failed to make significant upgrades.
The city is currently renovating the adjoining U.S. Cellular Center and wants to build a convention center next door. Patrick DePalma is chairman of the city commission that governs the adjacent U.S. Cellular Center. “The main benefit is having a quality downtown hotel that’s connected to a quality arena and a first-class, brand new events center,” DePalma says.
Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett says having the hotel under city ownership could bring significant improvements to the downtown. “You have a kitchen and you decide you’re going to remodel it, but you only remodel the cupboards and the countertop and you leave the old crappy appliances in place…you don’t get the full effect of the kitchen remodeling,” Corbett says. “And so that’s what we’re trying to do for our town. We’re trying to get the full effect.”
Corbett won’t say how much the city is willing to spend for the hotel or how much upgrades would cost. A report on that is due out next week. On Tuesday, the Cedar Rapids City Council will likely authorize city officials to negotiate a purchase from the current owners of the Crowne Plaza.