Iowa Arena in Coralville gets $4.8 million in tax credit funding

A new tax credit plan authorized by the Coralville City Council will supply money towards the ongoing construction of Iowa Arena.



Construction on the Coralville Arena is shown underway on Monday, October 1, 2018.

Christopher Borro, News Reporter

The Coralville City Council has put the finishing touches on a tax credit that will net almost $5 million in funding to be used in the construction of the Iowa Arena.

The council decided on a unanimous vote during its Sept. 25 meeting.

Iowa Business Growth, a loan company based in Johnston, Iowa, holds the tax credits, Coralville City Administrator Kelly Hayworth said. It has allocated $16.2 million toward the project, which equals $4.8 million in equity.

The tax credit is part of a federal tax program that allows corporations and banks to deduct what they owe on federal taxes, Hayworth said, and his team is currently working on the legal documentation to complete the plan.

“This is direct cash that will buy down the cost of the project for the city of Coralville,” he said.

The arena will be supplemented by a variety of other attractions. Coralville Mayor John Lundell said the renovated area will also be host to hotel and commercial space, as well as a variety of offices.

“I use the analogy of it’s like a doughnut,” he said. “The arena itself is the hole in the middle of the doughnut, but it’s surrounded by other developments.”

Additional places of interest will include a field house for recreational activities, as well as space for the Iowa Auto Museum, Johnson County Historical Society Gallery, and Hawkeye Railroad Club, Coralville City Councilor Laurie Goodrich said in an email to The Daily Iowan.

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Hayworth said the total cost of renovating the Iowa River Landing is around $72 million, with the arena scheduled for completion in the spring of 2020. Construction is continuing smoothly and without delays, he said.

The $4.8 million from the tax credit represents only a small part of the overall cost, though Goodrich, Hayworth, and Lundell expect the results to be well worth it.

“There are a variety of revenue streams that make up the total funding of the arena facility, and this is a program that is one part of the whole financial package,” Goodrich said in her email.

The Coralville City Council is providing step-by-step oversight on the arena’s construction, Goodrich said in her email, as well as the authorization of necessary legal documentation and resolutions. The Iowa Economic Development Authority Reinvestment District Program spurred the vision for the project, she said.

Hayworth said the arena has been among plans for around a decade.

The public is also anticipating the completion of the project, Lundell said.

“Oh, they’re thrilled,” he said. “They’re so excited and can’t wait for it to get finalized.”

The Iowa Arena’s management firm, Spectra, is an international company that also manages the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Lundell said entertainment and sporting events in Iowa’s capital will be enticed to travel to Coralville once the Iowa Arena is complete.

“[Spectra has] huge resources in terms of booking acts, working with sport teams, hockey teams … they’re already reaching out to events that are two years out to make sure we’re on the radar for potential users of the arena,” he said.