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Employees of Crowne Plaza Five Seasons Hotel in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Learn of Hotels Clsoing; City Plans to Buy Property and
Renovate as Part of New Convention Complex

By Mark Geary, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, IowaMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Nov. 22, 2010--CEDAR RAPIDS The 130 employees of the Crowne Plaza Five Seasons Hotel learned Sunday that they'll need to find new jobs, because the hotel will close at the end of February. Officials plan to announce today that the city is buying the hotel from creditor CWCapital LLC, Mayor Ron Corbett said over the weekend.

The closure, which hotel managers announced to employees at a meeting, is part of the city's plan to remodel and reinvent the hotel and adjacent U.S. Cellular Center into a new Convention Complex. Deb Stout, the hotel's general manager, said the city will take control of the hotel immediately after it closes so construction can begin.

'We just wanted to assure the employees, before it came out in the public, that we're going to help them. We're going to try to take care of them and help them find future employment,' Stout said.

She said hotel employ ees have seen this day coming for years, but having it confirmed still came as a shock.

'They went through the bad times when their paychecks were bouncing a few years ago,' she said. 'So there's very much a team atmosphere. Everybody relies on everybody else.' When the Conven tion Complex is finished, Stout said, many of the staff have said they'd like to return to work at the renovated hotel.

'That's their mindset . . . find something to do for the next couple of years or year and a half, however long it takes, and come back when it's done,' she said.

In the meantime, events scheduled after late February will have to move elsewhere.

'We're going to work with them and some of the other hotels to help relocate,' Stout said.

Employees will begin calling affected clients this morning.

-- Comments: (319) 368-8610; mark.geary@sourcemedia.net

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Copyright (c) 2010, The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

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