Cedar Rapids Tells Crowne Plaza Hotel to Pay Up

By Justin Foss, Reporter

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By Justin Foss

CEDAR RAPIDS - This week the city of Cedar Rapids told the Crowne Plaza Hotel to pay up.

That's just one of the major issues they brought up in a letter the city sent to the hotel's owners in Atlanta.

The rooms there this weekend are filling up because of a basketball tournament in town, with repeat visitors.

"Once you stay at a place, the name sticks with you and this name has stuck with us," said Kim Marks, a guest from Illinois.

Obviously those sold rooms are a good thing for downtown and business in general.

In an effort to keep the hotel going, the city sent out a letter, you can find that letter under "Related Content" on the side of this story.

In the letter, the city says the hotel's owners owe them $5,131.14 in sewer and water utilities. Plus, $61,806.87 in parking fees collected at meters and the ramp that they haven't paid to the city.

These bills didn't happen overnight, they've been delinquent for the last several months.

Zahid Mubarak is a regional manager with Kronos, who owns the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Cedar Rapids. He said the check is in the mail, that it was sent just days ago. The letter from the city was dated January 16th, 2008.

Mubarak said the reason they were so far behind is because they're a new company, and "Didn't have our stuff together."

On Friday, City Manager Jim Prosser said he didn't know about the check, and hadn't seen any money yet.

But, more concerning to Prosser is that when Kronos bought the hotel, they agreed to make several renovations within a year.

Now, nine months later, the city says they haven't seen any work.

The manager of the U.S. Cellular Center, which is connected to the hotel says he understands why the city is concerned.

"I think for the city of Cedar Rapids, it's important to have a first class hotel in downtown," said Scott Schoenike. "I think the city has shown its support in that area, and also it's concerned to making sure it's a first class hotel."

Prosser says they're not mad about the bills, they just want to make sure the hotel succeeds.

Mubarak told KCRG TV9 that he is visiting the hotel on Monday and Tuesday. Mubarak invited TV9 on a tour to see the renovation work they are starting at the Crowne Plaza.

Email Justin Foss at Justin.Foss@kcrg.com

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