In less than a year, Cedar Falls will likely have two convention centers.

Chris Bro Hospitality plans to expand its existing Hilton Garden Inn by 92 rooms and add meeting space for 700 people. A second proposed development a mile away includes a new 140-room hotel and banquet seating for 1,000.

Cedar Falls Mayor Jim Brown says there’s room for both. “I let the experts in the private industry decide that,” Mayor Brown says. “What these folks see Cedar Falls doing in planning and moving forward with are economic growth, the university and different events. I’ll let them battle that part out, but as far the city, it’s great to have that capital being spent where that capital is treated well.”

Cedar Falls Tourism Bureau spokesperson Becky Wagner says the new development at the Hilton Garden Inn will compliment the second proposed development nearby. “We’re excited to have two convention centers,” Wagner says. “They’ll help each other bring in other, larger events and hopefully keep everybody busy from the hotels down to the shopping in the community.”

Plans for the second project by Open Door Hospitality have yet to be presented to the Cedar Falls city council. The group has acquired a vacant lot just off Highway 20.

(Thanks to Pat Blank, Iowa Public Radio)