Wealthy foreign nationals will not have a part in the financing of the Iowa Events Center Hotel after Polk County supervisors decided to loan up to $29 million for the 330-room convention hotel when construction is completed in two years.

Supervisors voted Tuesday to provide the financing and back away from an anticipated $20 million from the federal EB-5 program, which provides permanent green cards to foreign nationals who invest between $500,000 and $1 million in economic development projects.

EB-5 funding was put in doubt several months ago when Congress debated changes to the program. Those changes did not occur, and at present the program could expire in a year.

The county will provide the funds by adding two years to the payoff of the Iowa Events Center, said Polk County Administrator Mark Wandro. Gaming revenues from Prairie Meadows Racetrack and Casino are used to pay that debt. Under the present schedule, the Iowa Events Center debt would have been retired in 2024. Current principal and interest payments are $14.5 million a year.

The county also will provide the guarantee on a $27 million construction loan from Bankers Trust Co..

Because gaming revenues are being used to retire the Iowa Events Center debt and provide the loan for the convention center hotel, taxpayers are not at risk, Wandro told  the board of the nonprofit IEC Hotel Corp., a nonprofit entity that will oversee the financing, construction and financing of the convention center hotel.

Demolition is underway on the former Allied Insurance building at Fifth Avenue and Park Street, where the hotel will be located. Construction is expected to begin in March and should be completed no later than the spring of 2018.

The loan from Polk County will be subordinate to a $33 million loan from a consortium of Iowa lenders, led by Bankers Trust.

When construction is completed, Bankers Trust, through an entity called Fifth & Park LLC, will serve as the owner of the building until an estimated $110 million in debt is retired, more than likely in 2048. At that point, Fifth & Park will transfer ownership to the IEC Hotel Corp., which then must turn the title over to Polk County.

In order to follow that chain of ownership, it is necessary to understand that in order to issue tax-exempt bonds for the hotel, the county must be the final owner. That condition is established by the Internal Revenue Service.

Meanwhile, the construction budget for the hotel has swollen by $10 million, primarily to meet demands of Hilton Worldwide Inc., which will operate the hotel, to supply furniture, fixtures and equipment that are up to its expectations. In addition, the footprint of the hotel will increase to about 311,000 square feet from 283,000 square feet, largely to provide back-of-house services for the operation. The cost of that expansion is $224 a square foot.