MUSCATINE, Iowa - Final preparations are still being made, but after two years of construction, the Merrill Hotel & Conference Center is open for business in downtown Muscatine.
"We're very excited. We had a great day yesterday, that was our first day. we had people staying in the hotel," says Chief Operating Officer Andy MacLellan.
The new facility is dream come true for Muscatine developer Tom Meeker.
"I finally found some big investors to come into town and it's been great," says developer Tom Meeker. We're finally getting to the next stage."
The $42 million project includes a four-star hotel with 122 guest rooms and suites, a state of the art conference center, and ballroom with a patio overlooking the Mississippi River.
"We've already booked a number of weddings," says MacLellan.
Developer Andy MacLellan says it's the only venue in Iowa accepted into the International Association of Conference Centers.
He says this will attract companies from all over the country as well as locally.
"All of our companies were taking their conference work to other areas, Quad Cities, Iowa City. Now, we get to keep it here and that adds up," says Meeker.
"It would be an economic engine for downtown Muscatine," says MacLellan.
Generating an estimated 6 to 10 million dollars a year.
"We've got lots of fun things to do inside the hotel and out," says MacLellan.
"It's a big deal for downtown, with all the companies here in town," says Meeker.
Muscatine residents say they're also excited about the fancy hotel.
"Beautiful, I just couldn't get over how nice it is," says resident Lauren Jarrett. "I thought, I wish I could live here, cause I like the river view."
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