Hotel Manning forever a part of Keosauqua's history

A jubilant crowd of investors and Keosauqua residents celebrate the sale of Hotel Manning (Chris Arbino/KTVO)

A historic hotel has been without an owner, and one small Iowa community has been willing to do whatever it takes to preserve its history.

Hotel Manning has been sitting on the market for approximately 10 years.

And after nearly a decade of no buyers coming around, the community of Keosauqua decided to pool their money together and buy the hotel themselves.

The hotel was built in 1899 by Edwin Manning, and in 1973 was placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.

In 2009, it was put up for sale.

Eagle View Partners, a hospitality group from Cedar Falls, decided to make an offer on the hotel in October of 2017.

“When you look at the community and you talk to community members and realize the excitement, we went ahead and made an offer,” said Steve Long.

Steve Long is the vice president of Eagle View Partners. He said changes in tax law initially made the company a bit skeptical about moving forward with the purchase.

“Well, then, a couple of months later, the tax laws were changed, and with the new tax law, changed the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%, which meant historic tax credits are not that attractive anymore,’’ Long continued.

That’s when the community stepped forward, led by Dr. Tim Blair.

“There was some concern about the tax climate for historic tax credits and they backed off a little bit, which caused a lot of the local folks to say 'hey, we’d be happy to invest' in the hotel and try to move this forward,” said Dr. Tim Blair.

Moving forward meant establishing the Hotel Manning Preservation Group, the organization where Dr. Blair sits as president.

"We had discussions about possibly having an investment group called an LLC., which is the Hotel Manning Preservation Group, actually buy the hotel and then lease to Eagle View Hospitality," Dr. Blair explained.

The newly established group grew quickly.

“Our goal was to have at least 50 investors, we’re now at 70,” Dr. Blair says.

Long said it’s a unique experience for not only Iowa, but for the entire country.

“There’s not a lot of examples out there of communities coming together to own a hotel,” Long said.

So, on Monday, April 2, at 2 p.m., a group of 70 investors became the proud owners of Hotel Manning, purchasing the property for $175,000.

Keosauqua’s mayor said the support has been incredible.

“I’m just amazed at the level of community involvement and the level of community support to have everyone come together,” said Nasseem Hesler, Keosauqua's mayor.

And long-time Keosauqua resident John Manning, who has lived in Keosauqua since 1946, and is the great-great-great grandson of hotel builder Edwin Manning, said the community makes his family proud.

“I think he’d be very gratified. I think all of our cousins and ancestors would certainly feel that way. It’s been a part… I remember it was in the late 50’s we had a big family reunion here. People came from all over the country for it, it was wonderful.”

And for the proud new owners of one of Keosauqua’s most revered pieces of history; a toast.

“I’d like to make a toast to the new owners of the Hotel Manning, HMPG, LLC," Dr. Tim Blair exclaimed to the crowd of investors and residents. "It’s been a long trip. Actually, a pretty damn short trip... and it’s just amazing to me the community support, and it’s the epitomy of saying 'it takes a village'. A toast”
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