McGregor Council engages consulting services to explore potential development options for former Holiday Shores site

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times 

It’s been over two and a half years since the Holiday Shores Motel was closed, then torn down, on the McGregor riverfront. Two years since the council denied a request from the property owners, Trilogy Partners LLC, to re-zone the property to allow for the construction of condominiums.

Yet, even after a 2016 hotel/motel feasibility study commissioned by the city of McGregor showed favorable potential for a new hotel in the community, the location remains vacant.

On Jan. 17, in hopes of moving the process along, the McGregor Council approved entering into a pre-development consulting service agreement, at a cost of nearly $8,000, to explore potential development options for the property.

“I feel we need to take the next steps,” stressed councilwoman Rogeta Halvorson, “by hiring a consultant to guide us, to open up doors and communication.”

Halvorson said the consultant has already been working with the city’s economic development committee and the property owners. His information would expand upon the feasibility study, providing details like cost and size estimates and basic concept designs.

“He’ll produce information that can be handed to people who might like to be an investor,” she said.

Councilman Joe Muehlbauer questioned whether the city should pay for work related to a private property, a thought mayor Harold Brooks also shared.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Brooks said, “but, in a sense, we’re paying somebody to sell someone else’s property.”

Councilman Charlie Carroll said he had felt much the same way, but came around to the idea after speaking with the consultant.

“It’s a potential $2.5 million to $6 million project,” Carroll noted. “If that happens, it seems that $8,000 would be well-spent.”

In the past, Halvorson said the city has offered other individuals and businesses incentives, such as TIF rebates, to encourage economic development in the community. So this, she remarked, wouldn’t be a new concept.

A possible hotel/condo development would generate much-needed tourism for the community, Halvorson added. Without the Holiday Shores, she estimated it’s at least 100 less people each day who aren’t visiting McGregor and supporting its businesses.

“It’s worth exploring,” she said. “We need this to draw people in, to try and make sure it happens. If not, it’s just going to sit and it won’t get done.”

City administrator Lynette Sander agreed.

“It’s not going to go any further without a document,” she said. “This is a way to present information [the owners or other investors] need to make a decision.”

In the end, the council unanimously agreed to move forward with the consulting services.

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