Cedar Rapids' largest hotel prepares for final weeks in business - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Rapids' largest hotel prepares for final weeks in business

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL)--  In just two weeks, Cedar Rapids' largest hotel will temporarily close it's doors to rebuild.  The city-owned Crowne Plaza's closure will leave about 130 employees out of work.   The community is stepping up to help the workers find jobs, and with hopes they'll return when the construction is complete.

Hotel manager Deb Stout greets hotel guests on the phone as they make their reservations.  She's worked at the downtown hotel for eleven years.  But starting February 9th, customers looking for lodging in the middle of downtown will have to look elsewhere.

Stout says, "I think that anyone who has worked here a while knows we've needed a facelift for a longtime."

Hotel owners and local employers have reached out to the workers sharing job openings.  The Crowne Plaza will also host a job fair on January 26th to help the soon to be displaced workers transition to the next phase in their careers.

Deb Stout isn't sure what she'll do when doors close, but would consider returning when construction wraps up in about 18 months.

Stout says, "Once it's ready to be staffed again there are going to be a lot of interested applicants that have been here for several years. "

Even as more than 100 Crowne Plaza employees leave downtown to find new jobs; dozens of construction crews are moving in. Experts like Quinn Pettifer, the director of marketing and community outreach for the Cedar Rapids Downtown District, predict the economic impact should balance out.

Pettifer says,  "Everyone is looking at this big picture. We are just so excited to get the events center to a point of being the second largest events complex in the state.  I think the downtown businesses are going to see those long term benefits."

In the short-term, Deb Stout continues to improve her customer service skills and hopes to make the most of her last two weeks managing the Crowne Plaza.

Stout says, "If I'm in Cedar Rapids or not in Cedar Rapids, I'll definitely be back to visit."

 

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