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Local

‘Gem of the community’

Hatch gives Loebsack, local leaders Hotel Maytag grand tour

One day after launching the former Hotel Maytag’s new apartment leasing office, Hatch Development Group opened the restoration project Tuesday for a tour with U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, and nearly 20 other community elected leaders and stakeholders.

The tour gave the group a look at the fourth and fifth floors, including a model apartment unit as well as unfinished raw construction.

Loebsack and guests ended the tour with what Hatch calls the “two jewels” of the project: The former ballroom, currently undergoing a full restoration, and the now reopened Capitol II Theatre.

In his introduction, Hatch reminded the group that restoring the 78,000 square foot building, its ballroom, Midtown Cafe and Capital II Theatre and 45 market and workforce-rate apartments was a collaborative effort.

“I’ve worked with half a dozen cities in our development business. I have never worked with a city council that has the vision, commitment and enthusiasm for a project more than the city council of Newton. It has been incredible,” said Jack Hatch, Hotel Maytag owner and developer.

The Des Moines-based developer and former Democratic Iowa gubernatorial nominee also praised Loebsack for his role in pushing U.S. House Republicans in 2017 to keep the Federal Historic Tax Credit intact, as some lawmakers tried to eliminate the program as part of the 2017 Federal tax reform bill.

The tax credit was one of the largest single sources of funding for the Hotel Maytag renovation. Developers acquired $2.7 million from the U.S. Department of Interior program.

Loebsack said Tuesday he and Iowa’s entire congressional delegation supported continuing the credits, but to save it from the chopping block agreed to a change in the way the credit was paid out to developers. The new law awards project money over a five-year period as opposed to allowing developers to take the full 20 percent credit in one shot.

With a total of nearly $16.4 million in investment in a building, Hatch said Hotel Maytag will likely only appraise for $3.5 million. The developer reminded the group of community leaders the project would not have been possible without government funding mechanisms such as a 40-year, low-interest mortgage through the Iowa Finance or the $2.7 million in economic development dollars offered by the City of Newton.

Hatch made similar statements earlier Tuesday in an update to the Jasper County Board of Supervisors at its weekly meeting.

“So, without federal tax credits, without historic tax credits, without low-income housing tax credits, without support from the city and a variety of smaller financing mechanisms ... you could never privately rehab a building like this without the support from the federal government, state government and local government,” Hatch said.

From a construction standpoint, Loebsack and the other government officials heard from Estes Construction Project Manager Nate Inman.

He said historic preservation presents a unique challenge for contractor and with the Hotel Maytag renovation, required workers to consult with project architects REG Planning and Design and Hatch to ensure they were not “destroying the historic fabric” of the building.

“On the construction side, we’re kind of wired to do things as quickly and efficiently as possible to look at things that reduce cost,” Inman said. “The things we have to stop and think about that we have to restore — things that hold significant value — it’s really a change of mindset for us and the guys in the field.”

Hatch took special note on Tuesday’s tour of two Hotel Maytag features — the ballroom skylight and theatre marquee — and the specific challenges each presented. The skylight, Hatch said, will be covered but remain intact. Funding was not available to completely open the rooftop feature, but a back-lit glass cover will give ballroom guests a similar experience, he said.

“We will have the effect of it. We will keep the original intent and we’ll keep the original structure for some time later,” Hatch said.

For the Capitol II marquee, project architects and contractors had to meet with State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) representatives three separate times to discuss restoration, as the structure was found in worse condition than originally thought.

“Luckily, we’ll come out having a marque the entire state will see as a way to build the new technology movie theater while keeping the stature of the historic renovation,” Hatch said.

In June, the Preserve Iowa Summit 2019 is coming to Newton and the ballroom will play host to a seminar of historic preservation experts and enthusiasts. State Historic Preservation Officer Steve King told the Newton Daily News on Tuesday’s tour the former Maytag Hotel will be the perfect showcase for the statewide event.

“We’re excited to come to Newton in June to show off this project to the rest of the state,” King said. “We’re just really excited that (Newton) has made a conscious decision to include preservation in their move forward.”

Contact Mike Mendenhall at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com

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