MASON CITY — Mason City’s mayor says the first steps of the River City Renaissance project are officially underway with the signing of the first construction contract as well as a lease with Southbridge Mall.
The City Council last week approved a revised lease agreement with the mall owner. The lease agreement is for an initial 20-year term, followed by four subsequent five-year terms for a total of 40 years. The cost of the lease starts at $199,000 a year for the first five years, increasing by 10-percent each subsequent five-year period.
Mayor Bill Schickel says the mall owner agreed to the council’s amendments, including that back taxes be paid prior to any lease payments being made. “You might remember that lease includes provisions that no money will be paid in terms of that lease until all of the taxes are current on the mall.”
Schickel says the contract has been finalized with Dean Snyder Construction of Clear Lake dealing with the demolition of the interior of the former JC Penney store area where a multi-purpose center will be constructed. “I’ve signed a contract for the first construction bid. Construction should be getting underway shortly in JC Penney area where the multi-purpose center will be built.”
Some concern was raised at last week’s council meeting that the city did not meet the minimum requirements for posting the notice as part of the bid letting process. Schickel says a review shows the city followed the necessary requirements. “You may have heard that there were some technical issues with the bidding process. We’ve consulted with the experts. We’ve consulted with our staff and legal counsel. They informed us that the statutes were indeed complied with, and various deadlines were met. So we’re excited to be moving forward.”
The city is currently accepting bids for the second construction package for the arena, which includes the structural steel, concrete foundation and ice plant components of the facility. Bids are due on January 31st, with the council scheduled to approve a winning bidder at their February 5th meeting.