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Hotel Stanley (copy)

An artist's rendering shows The Hotel Stanley & Conference Center, seen to the left of the current building commonly known as Hotel Muscatine, that is expected to start construction as early as this summer. Developers announced this week the new building would be called The Merrill Hotel and Conference Center.

MUSCATINE, Iowa — A new $42-million hotel and convention center development in downtown Muscatine will now bear the name of a former Muscatine business executive.

Riverview Hotel Development, the hospitality company in charge of what was previously known as the Riverview Estates project, announced Monday the new building will be called The Merrill Hotel and Conference Center.

The name is intended to honor Stanley Merrill Howe, 91, a Muscatine native and one-time president, chairman and chief executive officer of what was then Hon Industries, Inc. Hon Industries was renamed HNI Corp. in 2004, according to a press release.

“While we considered several name options, including the Riverview Hotel and the Stanley Hotel, our team felt that The Merrill Hotel and Conference Center reflects the elegance of the property and allows us to pay homage to a man whose passion for business and for Muscatine contributed to the growth of this great city,” Rebecca Howe, president of Riverview Hotel Development and Howe's daughter-in-law, stated in the press release. “With much of the project’s funding coming from individual investors with ties to the Muscatine community that span generations, we felt this name strikes the right balance between honoring the city’s robust history and setting the stage for the Muscatine riverfront’s bright future.”

Currently, Riverview's plans for the Merrill project include a four-star hotel, meeting facilities, a restaurant and a covered walkway system that would connect the Merrill to the neighboring former Hotel Muscatine, now known as the Pearlview Condominiums and also home of two restaurants and The Pearl bar. Both the Merrill and the Pearlview Condominiums are located in the 100 block of West Mississippi Drive, directly on the Muscatine riverfront.

Riverview plans to release more specific details about the project in early summer of this year. Previously, developers had said they were looking forward to beginning construction on the project this late summer, with the project's completion taking place in 2017. Plans have moved forward after developers received state funding assistance for the project last March.

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Government and general news reporter