June 17, 2009
A couple of updates on items previously blogged about:
First, the City Council voted 4-3 last night to approve the design of the exterior walkway next to the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel.
Connie Champion, Amy Correia and Mike Wright cast the dissenting votes, citing safety concerns, particularly over the possible location of an ATM.
Also last night, the council voted unanimously to give Los Cocos bar an abreviated six-month liquor license, with some council members saying they want to see big improvements from the bar at its next review.
May 27, 2009
IOWA CITY — The popular walkway through the Sheraton Iowa City Hotel is a step closer to being closed at night.
The three-member City Council Economic Development Committee voted unanimously Wednesday in support of a plan to enhance an exterior walkway west of the downtown hotel that would replace the one inside.
The full council will have the final say and is expected to take up the matter June 16. If the council gives it’s approval, it is expected the exterior walkway will be finished by the time students return in August, said Wendy Ford, the city’s economic development coordinator.
If that happens, then the public easement through the hotel’s lobby will be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. to everyone except hotel employees and guests.
See the earlier post below for more background on the issue. Also, here are a couple of images of the walkway, courtesy of Neumann Monson Architects, via the city. The first shows the walkway as it is now. The next couple are renderings of what it would look like.
Night view from south
May 26, 2009
By Gregg Hennigan
IOWA CITY – The City Council Economic Development Committee will discuss the Sheraton Iowa City walkway on Wednesday.
The meeting begins at 2:30 p.m. in the city manager’s conference room in City Hall.
In October, the council voted 5-2 to approve an agreement that lets the hotel’s new owner, RBD Iowa City, restrict access to the public easement that serves as a walkway through the hotel’s lobby between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Before that can happen, though, improvements must be made to an exterior walkway to the west of the building, including adding lighting and signs.
The easement through the hotel was created when the hotel was built in the 1980s. At night, it is commonly used by bar and restaurant patrons to enter and leave the Pedestrian Mall area.
Ron Kim of Davidson Hotel Co., which manages the hotel for RBD, told the council he wanted to close off the walkway “to keep the unwanted behavior out” of the hotel.
Council members Amy Correia and Mike Wright cast the dissenting votes, saying that while they understood the hotel’s reasoning, they saw the outside passage as less safe than going through the building.
Other council members said they thought the exterior upgrades would suffice.
The easement currently is 25 feet wide and open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The agreement approved in October will narrow it to about 12 feet. Between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., only hotel employees and guests will be allowed to use it.
In exchange, the hotel will pay half the cost of upgrading the exterior walkway. The city would pick up the other half of the bill, which in October was roughly estimated at up to $300,000.