Sale of Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center not yet complet - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sale of Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center not yet complete.

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

It is the largest event space in the Cedar Valley, but over the years, the Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center has fallen into disrepair.

The cost of renovations is one of the main reasons the city agreed to sell the center and the adjoining hotel to developer Edwin Leslie of Omaha.

"One of the things that we have dealt with over the winter was water pipes freezing, breaking, and flooding the floors of the convention center because the heaters on the exterior perimeters had gone out three years ago and were never fixed," said Leslie.

Under the sale agreement which was signed last summer, Leslie will invest at least $6 million in the convention center and $14 million in the hotel.

Improvements have already started, but the deeds to the properties have not yet been transferred to Leslie.

Leslie told council members during a meeting on Tuesday, it was due to his out-of-state bank needing to find a local bank partner. He was unable to secure a local bank partner.

"Our Illinois lender wanted a local lender to participate with. One of the hurdles was most of the local lenders, either their loan limits were too small or other hotel projects had already taken up their hotel allotment of financing," explained Leslie. "That created a little bit of a hurdle which made us go outside the area to start looking at national lenders more."

Leslie says the financing is now in place, and the conveyance of the properties should happen within the next two months.

He says the hurdle put the project a month behind schedule.

Under the agreement, Leslie has 18 months to complete a large majority of the renovations that were agreed upon. That time frame started in January of this year.

Despite the setback, Leslie is confident his team will be able to make all the necessary renovations by the deadline.

Leslie has already begun repairs and modifications to the properties, but they are not visible from the street view.

"The fire marshal wants the doors replaced. Doors won't matter to the general public when you are driving by, but those are the kinds of things we have to focus on first; the safety, security, and the guest needs," said Leslie.

During his presentation to the council, Leslie said under his team's leadership, the convention center and hotel have tripled the number of event bookings in the next several years.

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