DMACC has sold almost four acres of the Legacy Plaza campus in Newton to Christensen Development, which has proposed to renovate a number of historic Maytag headquarters buildings into a 58-room hotel and a 70-unit, market-rate apartment community. The project is estimated to cost $35 million.
The sale — a joint effort among DMACC, Christensen Development, Jasper County, City of Newton, Newton Development Corporation and JEDCO — was announced May 22 in a press release. Construction is scheduled to begin later this summer, and it is to be completed about one year later.
Maytag Buildings 1, 2, 16 and 50 are included in the Christensen Development project.
When construction is completed, the hotel and market-rate apartments will be managed by Angela Harrington, president and CEO of Catalyst Development and owner of Hotel Grinnell in Grinnell and Highlander Hotel in Iowa. Harrington’s hotels are the only women-owned hotels in Iowa.
Rob Denson, president of DMACC, said the vision for Legacy Plaza is becoming a reality. The public-private partnership required to make this project move forward has turned an underutilized corporate headquarters into a new, vibrant public space, with Legacy Plaza becoming a destination attraction.
Formerly the Newton Maytag Campus, the buildings now known as Legacy Plaza were first donated to DMACC in 2016. Since then DMACC — whose Newton campus is also located nearby — has added 18 new tenants in the Legacy Plaza buildings, which added more than 135 new jobs to Newton.
Joe Pugel, chair of the DMACC Board of Trustees, said DMACC has always been happy to be part of the solution of turning the former Maytag headquarters into a vital asset for Newton and Jasper County with the help of economic development organizations and local governments.
“The mark of a vibrant and thriving community is the collaboration that happens to keep the community growing,” Pugel said. “DMACC looks forward to continuing collaborative efforts with all its partners.”
Frank Liebl, executive director of Newton Development Corporation, said the project would help fill a need for more housing and hospitality lodging in the Newton community. Having Christensen Development purchase and develop the buildings, he added, is an economic boost to the city.
“Having worked with the three previous owners of the former Maytag Corporate Campus, I’ve seen how difficult it’s been to fill the space,” Liebl said. “It wasn’t until DMACC took ownership of these buildings during the latter part of 2016 that we began to see a vision for this campus.”
Brandon Talsma, chair of the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, praised the collaborative project, saying the county is pleased to assist with the funding of such an important project for Jasper County. Earlier this year, the county agreed to assist with financing of the project through the Iowa Reinvestment District Act.
The reinvestment district will provide $14 million in hotel-motel tax rebates over a 20-year period to a number of projects in the district, not just the Christensen Development project. The reinvestment district also helps to expand academic programming in DMACC and provide improvements to downtown Newton.