Howard Johnson Hotel

The Howard Johnson hotel at 707 Fourth St. in downtown Sioux City is up for sale by current ownership. The property was listed late last month with an asking price of $5.8 million. 

Tim Hynds, Sioux City Journal file

SIOUX CITY | For the second time in three years, the Howard Johnson hotel in downtown Sioux City is up for sale.

The towering 12-story hotel at 707 Fourth St. has an asking price of $5.8 million, according to Loopnet.com, a national online listing site for commercial real estate.

The listing comes as construction is set to begin over the next year on two new Marriott hotels and a new Hilton-brand extended-stay hotel nearby the Howard Johnson. One of the new Marriotts, a five-story, 150-room structure to be built less than a block away, will eventually replace the Howard Johnson as the main hotel for the Sioux City Convention Center.

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Dick Salem

Salem

Local listing broker Dick Salem, owner of Salem Real Estate in Sioux City, said the Howard Johnson was originally listed two to three weeks ago. He said he's fielded inquiries from between 15 and 20 people since then.   

"There’s a lot of interest around the country for something like this," Salem said. "You don’t have a ... hotel with 193 rooms with ballrooms and meeting rooms and a pool and all the amenities that they have and exercise rooms for $5 million."

Salem said he believes about $10 million is still needed to be invested in the hotel to fully revitalize it. He said ideally, a developer willing to invest the money will be interested enough in the property. Salem said he is also discussing the potential for a financial incentive package from the city. 

The 193-room hotel was originally built in 1974 as a Hilton. Since then it has switched to a Clarion brand and in May 2015 began flying the Howard Johnson flag, part of the national Wyndham hotels chain.

The Sioux City hotel includes a first-floor lobby, restaurant and bar, second-floor pool, banquet and meeting rooms, a fitness center and business center and a 12th-floor ballroom and reception area. 

The 43-year-old hotel fell on hard times after a series of owners struggled to make a go of it. After going through foreclosure, the property was sold at a sheriff's auction in July 2014 to settle $5.2 million in court-awarded judgments against two of its former owners. As the lone bidder, the Illinois bank that held the mortgage took possession of the property for $2.5 million.

The property was then sold for $2 million to Star Hospitality LLC in a deal that closed in late December 2014. The local ownership group then completed a remodel of the hotel.

The current owners declined to comment for this story. 

The Howard Johnson is the only hotel currently connected via the skywalk to the Sioux City Convention Center. However, a developer is preparing to break ground as soon as late 2017 on a five-story Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in the Convention Center's parking lot, which will eventually connect directly to the venue. 

City officials encouraged the new hotel project to reinvigorate interest in the Convention Center, which they partially attribute to the lack of a quality hotel nearby. 

Salem said in an ideal situation, if a developer refurbishes the Howard Johnson, it would combine with the new Courtyard by Marriott as a "double whammy" for the downtown and could encourage even more conventions to come. 

Two other hotel projects planned for downtown include a conversion of the former Warrior Hotel and Davidson Building into a 146-room Marriott brand hotel as part of a $56 million restoration plan that also calls for transforming other space in the historic buildings into luxury apartments, bars, restaurants and other retail outlets. Construction is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2018, with completion anticipated for summer of 2019.

Ho-Chunk Inc. is also planning an $11 million revitalization at the site of a downtown industrial building near Virginia Square into a Hilton-brand extended-stay hotel. The company plans to demolish the building and work with Sioux Falls developer KWB LLC to a five-story hotel with approximately 90 rooms that will be affiliated with the Home2 Suites by Hilton brand.

The two Marriotts and Hilton will, combined, bring nearly 400 more rooms to the downtown area. 

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City hall reporter

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