BELLEVUE, Iowa -- Ground has broken on a significant private construction project in Bellevue that will add money to the city's coffers, supply dozens of jobs and provide a riverside resort for visitors.
A.J. Spiegel's latest development in the Mississippi River town of 2,000 will be a
$4 million Baymont Inn & Suites complex perched on the banks of the Mississippi River on the town's north edge. The hotel is being built 60 feet from Spiegel's Off Shore Bar & Grill and the adjacent Shore Event Centre, both also on the river's banks.
The new hotel's 48 guest rooms will be 3 feet wider than standard Baymont rooms and will feature screened decks on rooms facing the river.
"I want people to feel more comfortable in our rooms," said Spiegel, a Peosta, Iowa-based developer and manufacturer.
Citing the need for a hotel in the Belle-vue area (there are several B&Bs and guest houses in town), Spiegel thinks his rooms will be used often.
"By sales people, by people in town who want to get the family away for the weekend and play around the pool, by families staying for a weekend," he said. "I know there are a lot of family reunions and wedding guests going to other towns."
Bellevue City Administrator Loras Herrig sees "no negatives whatsoever" in the project. The city has been getting property taxes from the vacant property, worth
$1 million, for two years. It will not receive the tax dollars on the $4 million in improvements for 15 years as the City Council agreed to put the project in tax increment financing. Spiegel also will receive half of whatever proceeds the hotel collects annually for five years from the city's 7 percent hotel/motel tax.
"A lot of cities try to recruit someone like A.J. to their towns. We are truly blessed as a small community that his projects are here," Herrig said.
Members of a city committee organized in support of a walking/biking trail from Bellevue proper to parts north are excited by the new development. The 10-foot-wide, hard-surfaced path will lead from a north-end Bellevue neighborhood along U.S. 52, under a highway viaduct to both the new complex and to Spruce Creek Park farther north along the river.
"It will be another site for our trail to connect with," said Daryl Parker, a committee member. "We envision local people heading out of town for exercise and visitors riding and walking into town for shopping and exploring. It will provide a safe access into town without the use of a motor vehicle."
Spiegel also plans to build an RV park, with water and wastewater services and concrete streets, on a rise west of the hotel. Campers would have access to the hotel's pool. The park could partially open this year, but Spiegel said it will more likely open in 2013.