CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Iowa River Landing should soon have a new, highly anticipated partner.
Construction for the Iowa Arena is expected to start early next year. City and community leaders said they've been trying to make this a reality for almost 20 years. Some places are thrilled to welcome the Iowa Arena to town.
A managing partner at 30 Hop said it will bring loads of new customers to his restaurant. Dan Blum said restaurants like his depend on big venues to bring in new customers.
"I'm excited about how it'll affect the area and get people in the area and a little more recognition for 30 Hop and other establishments in the Iowa River Landing," said Dan Blum, a managing partner at 30 Hop in Coralville.
Crews are expected to break ground on the $46 million project in January or February. Some of the money is coming from state grants, tax allocations and sponsorships, but organizers still need money to make the project whole.
Plus, they're still in negotiations to find a United States Hockey League team for the arena. Officials said the arena will add to the community's quality of life.
"Everything from dance and gymnastics to hockey and volleyball and basketball and trade shows. There's a lot of different opportunities here," said Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth.
Hayworth said the arena will provide jobs for college students.
"This will be an opportunity for them to get experience in working in areas that they're interested in making their careers," said Hayworth.
"Anytime we can get a new demand generator like this brought into the market, it's a really good thing," said Josh Schamberger, the president of the Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That is especially true with ten new hotels going up as well. Schamberger said if an arena doesn't come, those hotels will see occupancy sitting below 50 percent on average, but if it does come, Blum is most looking forward to the concerts and sporting events bringing people to 30 Hop.
"It's going to be good for everyone here. There's a lot of high caliber establishments next door and I think it's going to make us all value the area that much more," said Blum.
The Iowa Arena is expected to be complete by August of 2019.