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WATERLOO — The former downtown Ramada Hotel will be closed for the next nine months while it undergoes a major renovation by its new owners.

A South Dakota-based hotel investor purchased the 10-story hotel at West Fourth and Commercial streets Tuesday from its longtime Chicago-area owner.

The new owner, Makenda LLC of Madison, S.D., is preparing to invest $10 million to completely renovate the property into a dual Best Western Plus and Executive Residency hotel.

Kayleen Leonard, director of sales for the new hotel, said it wasn’t feasible to keep the hotel open during the extensive renovation process.

“We are going to do a full internal gut renovation of the entire property,” she said. “With what we’re doing here it just wasn’t possible” to stay open during the remodeling.

The renovation is expected to be complete by August. The new hotel will include 99 Best Western Plus rooms and 69 Executive Residency extended stay suites.

The former Ramada employees lost their jobs when the sale took place because there was no work for them during the renovation period. Leonard said the staff was encouraged to apply for jobs when the hotel reopens.

Best Western Plus/Executive Residency is planning to hold a major liquidation sale from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 21-23 to sell everything from television sets to lamps and towel bars before the interior demolition begins.

More information about the event and available items is expected to be released next week.

The Waterloo City Council is providing a grant and tax incentives to help the new hotel buyers make the renovation, noting the hotel is a key partner with the adjacent Five Sullivan Brothers Convention Center.

Leonard said the new owners are working with other area hotels to ensure those who had booked rooms at the Ramada will have their reservations honored in the city.

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