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Business owners and officials prepared for new Coralville arena

BY RAPHAEL GELFAND | JUNE 25, 2015 5:00 AM

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The city of Coralville is closer to an arena at the Iowa River Landing then ever before after a big boost from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

The agency gave preliminary approval to the city to receive $9.5 million for the project.

This preliminary investment, though not the $12 million requested by Coralville, brings the 7,000-seat arena a step closer to reality.

Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said the arena would only be created if the project were debt-free. The project is estimated to cost more than $40 million.

Iowa River Landing is a growing attraction in the area. It is home to the University of Iowa Health Care’s River Landing Medical Clinic and various hotels and shops.

Coralville City Councilor Bill Hoeft said he believes the arena will benefit the surrounding communities.

“[The arena] will bring a positive economic impact when you tie it in with the convention center, UIHC, hotels, and restaurants,” he said. “The arena will bring people in from outside the area, not only for things such as sporting events.”

Robert Bolton, the events director for Iowa River Landing restaurant Backpocket Brewing, said anything the size of the proposed arena should bring in more foot traffic to the area.

But there is concern that the arena could create hectic traffic.

Iowa River Landing is home to a convention center, which has a large parking lot attached to it, with a brand-new parking ramp in development.

“The new parking garage will definitely help alleviate any congestion that might be created by the arena,” Bolton said. 

“We really don’t want to over-burden the area there,” Hoeft said. “If this arena is built, we will have at least four different parking lots, which should really limit this as an issue.”

Dan Elum, a managing partner for 30hop, said he also believes the arena will bring more business to the Iowa River Landing.

“We really are looking forward to it,” he said. “It’s great to see something of this scale being brought to a place with this much potential and capability.”

Elum said he believes the arena would help make Iowa River Landing even more of a destination spot, and 30hop is ready to embrace the increase in foot traffic it could bring.

Coralville has yet to release further plans on the development and effect on local infrastructure for the project, but Hoeft has said that arena will have its own entrance next to the main entrance of Iowa River Landing.

“The increase in customers and stores will really bring opportunity,” Elum said.

“More customers and for lack of a better term, ‘competition’ is something this area has really been waiting for,” he said. “This arena might just be the thing that brings it.”


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