Des Moines Development Forum

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Quad Cities Development (includes Davenport, Bettendorf, Moline, & Rock Island)
Big Downtown Development Deal In The Works For Davenport -KWQC

Basically this is Restoration St. Louis's casino proposal, minus the casino.

This is the same firm that developed Hotel Blackhawk and several other downtown buildings. We spoke to Amy Gill on the phone tonight and she tells us the ball is rolling and it could be going to city council in the next couple of weeks. Last year, the Gills submitted their downtown casino proposal wanting to use that same space. They're playing off the casino concept here with the Putnam building being a 70-room, all-suite hotel and rooftop night club. There would likely be a restaurant too. The Parker building would be grocery on the first floor and office space above.

This plan has been floating around ever since they lost the casino "competition," but its good to see it moving forward.

Glad they could stick this one out even without the casino. This would be downtown's 3rd hotel, correct?

We're not exactly heading into good photo season, but don't be shy with showing all of those historic building renovation projects over that way.
DMRyan wrote:Glad they could stick this one out even without the casino. This would be downtown's 3rd hotel, correct?

Yes. I'm curious if they'll still be interested in building a skywalk over Brady to connect to the MidAmerican ramp, RiverCenter, Adler, Blackhawk and Radisson hotels. This would make it also the 3rd hotel connected to our convention space, thereby increasing its attractiveness. The former 3rd hotel continues to decay at its prominent corner of River Drive and 3rd Street, but I think it's only future is the wrecking ball. It's actually one of the only completely vacant buildings downtown. The Parker and Putnam buildings in this proposal have an assortment of tenants at the moment.

We're not exactly heading into good photo season, but don't be shy with showing all of those historic building renovation projects over that way.

Yeah, there's actually a ton going on locally that I should be covering, but a month ago today QCI Jr. was born so it's been a bit busy. This weekend might be a good chance for me to drive around and get some update pictures.
Congrats on the new addition to your family!

Knowing how well the developers of this project can get things done, I wonder if they'll go for a national hotel brand, of if this would be another local or perhaps boutique hotel? I think they've almost single-handedly shown the local developers that historic preservation projects and conversions to residential can be done in Davenport. If not for them, I can't imagine all of the local developers jumping on board at the pace that they have.
I'd be willing to bet that RSL goes with a national brand and puts whichever one it is more front-and-center in the name. The Blackhawk had decades of history here, but a brand new hotel won't have that recognition to feature.

As far as what RSL has done for Davenport, I think the main thing they've shown local developers is that there's enough market rate demand downtown to support buildings that don't use Section 42 tax credits. Before the Blackhawk and Forrest Block opened up already leased at $1000 and up (way up) rents, the old money folks brushed off the previous developments as just subsidized housing for poor folks. That ignores my constant badgering about how all the buildings had waiting lists for their $1200 market rate apartments, but hey, I don't know anything. I wish I'd had a couple million to invest in some rehabs 5 years ago when there was a hugely unmet demand.
Gills propose $70 million project in Davenport-QCOnline

Seems like more details are starting to trickle out. The QCTimes will get around to doing an article at some point. I'll see what I can find out until then.

The projects include the Putnam Building, 128 W. 2nd St., which would be converted into a total of 48,000 square feet of hotel suites and related food and beverage amenities.

The Gills plan an additional 16,000 square feet of residential market rate units to occupy the top floors.

The Parker Building, 104 W. 2nd St., would include approximately 20,000 square feet of retail and 87,000 square feet of Class A office space.

The Center Building, 112 W. 2nd St., would house 44,000 square feet of retail, office, and related hotel meeting room and fitness center amenities.

The First Midwest Bank Building, 101 W. 3rd St., would be redeveloped into approximately 20,000 square feet of office space or converted to parking.
$70 million is nothing to sneeze at, this is a heck of a big project for the city. I'm surprised they included so much commercial space instead of the easier route of residential right now.

Looking forward to hearing more specifics on this one.
QCTimes - Details of downtown Davenport projects emerge
Development of a blighted downtown city block and construction of new place to put fans into Modern Woodmen Park appeared to have the support of Davenport aldermen.

The council met Monday in a study session to hear about a lease amendment with Main Street Baseball that will provide for a $1 million loan to build four new viewing decks at Modern Woodmen Park and the development agreement for the $60 million City Square project.

A public hearing on the City Square development agreement will be Wednesday at the city council's committee-of-the-whole meeting. The agreement and the lease amendment for Modern Woodmen Park will be voted on at the Dec. 11 meeting.

In addition it says the River Bandits are asking for some help to do this to Modern Woodmen Park:
He wants to extend the mezzanine level toward left field, build two seating decks just below the mezzanine, place fixed seating in front of the cornfield on the left field line and construct a viewing area in left centerfield that will extend out to the river.

I am curious how many seats this would add. Certainly on the big nights in the summer, they could fill them.
I think this is the correct board

Davenport approves $60 million City Square project
DAVENPORT - Davenport's downtown resurgence got another big boost Wednesday night when the City Council approved a development agreement with Restoration St. Louis for the $60 million renovation of the Parker and Putnam buildings, known as City Square. The project will create a hotel with amenities and some residential space at the west end of the block bordered by Second and Third, Brady and Main streets. The building at the east end of the block will have Class A office space. A grocery store and pharmacy also are planned. ... 8b72c.html

Hotel, residential and grocery store all in one what a concept (hmmmm 7th & Grand/YWCA, 5th & Court or empty lots south of Court Ave and north of old train Depot projects)
This speaks volumes about the caliber of developer that's taking on this project. This project is the biggest one in a while for Downtown Davenport, which is also just about out of large old historic buildings to convert or renovate.

I'm honestly curious if there's enough residential density or daytime business activity to truly support a new downtown grocery store though. More power to them if they can, but I'm guessing that a store like this will have to be subsidized by the city or developer.
DMRyan wrote:I'm honestly curious if there's enough residential density or daytime business activity to truly support a new downtown grocery store though. More power to them if they can, but I'm guessing that a store like this will have to be subsidized by the city or developer.

If the new grocer takes WIC and EBT cards, there might be enough business to keep the store profitable.
Update on the status of this. Sounds like construction will begin this year, and they're expecting to have it all completed by the end of next year already. Should be a huge addition to the downtown area to have that entire block cleaned up and (hopefully) actually full of tenants. The renderings look really nice and of course come with Restoration St Louis' exterior lighting on the buildings (which is a nice touch).

DMRyan wrote:Is that rooftop patio intended to be used by the apartment dwellers?

They have referred to it as a SkyBar, so I'm hoping it's a public space. There will be a lot more top floor/rooftop dining in downtown Davenport in 3 years, between this, the Dock Me & Billy's, and today's announced Riverwatch building.
RSL announced today that Wells Fargo will move across the block to anchor the Parker Building of City Square. I'm glad they found an anchor tenant so this project keeps moving but it would have been nice if it was a tenant locating downtown for the first time instead of leaving another old building.

The article doesn't say what the plans are for the ground floors of the Wells Fargo building, but hopefully it doesn't sit vacant for years.

Here's another QCT article on the progress in City Square. It is nearly all leased and they're still committed to bringing a grocery store downtown. Sounds like they have already begun demolition on the Parker Building and the entire project is still expected to be finished by next year.

Parker Building: It will house four floors of Class A office space (floors 2-5). Wells Fargo will be the office and retail anchor tenant. The upper two floors (6 and 7) will house about 20 luxury residential units. Restoration St. Louis is committed to bringing an urban grocery store to the space. The second floor also will provide a connection to Center Building. It was built in 1922.

Center Building: The connecting, two-story building will house nine hotel suites as well as retail. It also would house other amenities on the second floor, including a swimming pool, fitness center and executive conference facilities. It will provide a connector hallway to a college campus project being planned with Eastern Iowa Community Colleges on the north half of the block. The building's original date is uncertain, but it has been there since 1910. It was replaced with the current structure in 1955.

Putnam Building: The first floor will house a hotel lobby with the front door on 2nd and Main streets. A hotel bistro and bar also will be on the main floor with an entrance off 2nd Street. Floors 2-6 will be the Blackhawk Suites. The building will house 52 of the project's 61 suites. The two upper floors, 7 and 8, will house 18 luxury residential units. A Sky Bar will be built on top of the Putnam. The building was originally completed in 1910.
I have a very mixed reaction to this news. Wells Fargo currently occupies the historic Davenport Bank building, which has an amazing bank lobby on the first floor. It has continuously operated as a bank, as far as I know, since it was built. Davenport Bank was bought out by Norwest, which eventually merged with Wells Fargo. Obviously, some cool new reuses could happen, and I hope they do, but I'd hate to lose public access to such an architectural gem.

That said, they're a great anchor for the City Square building, and they weren't occupying much of the "Wells Fargo Building" anyway at this point. The big positive from this story is that the current WF bank drive up, next to the library will be going away, to be replaced with some kind of setup in what will soon be the former alley behind the Parker/Putnam buildings. This opens up a quarter block in the heart of downtown for all sorts of interesting possibilities.

Here's a map of the area, since everyone knows I love aerials and maps.
A The current Wells Fargo Bank building, which includes the original Davenport Bank tower (tallest in Davenport) and a later addition that includes 1 story of offices on top of 4 stories of parking.
B The future home of WF's downtown operations, anchoring the City Square project this thread is about
C Wells Fargo's current bank drive up arrangement, which is certainly sub-optimal for a downtown, and probably not ideal for WF since it's physically separated from the rest of the bank.
D The United Cigar building, which houses Me and Billy's restaurant and bar, and is slated to have several floors of residential constructed on top of it. See this thread.
E The proposed future location of Scott Community College's downtown campus, as seen in this thread

As you can see by the map, there is a lot happening within a few blocks here, so I'm really hoping the best use for the drive up corner isn't surface parking...
I would imagine Rodney Blackwell already has plans he's mulling over for the rest of this building. I wonder if any of it other than the first floor remains commercial though, or if it all goes apartment/condo? Perhaps the first floor would make a great restaurant space to keep the public still seeing the architectural features.
Things have been happening inside at least the Parker Building for a while, as evidenced by the dumpsters getting filled up in the alley, but in the last few weeks a lot more visible activity has begun. Its harder to see what is happening with the Putnam half, so it may be well underway as well.

This week they've taken out the front windows and built a temporary wall behind them.
They've also started some work on the parking lot across the alley, behind what would be the new SCC building if that ends up happening.

They've also installed 1 pair of LED lighting fixtures, for testing I would assume. The medallion and uplighting are separate, and at least last night, were rotating through different colors.
I have no idea where they imagine this grocery store would fit in, and suspect it may not make the final cut. Maybe they imagine it would be street level retail in the SCC half of the block? Most of the City Square half of the block seems to be spoken-for already, although it could potentially fit in the center part of the block where Subway and Junior Achievement currently are, but I've heard at least Subway is staying.

As far as the community college campus, they announced back in October that they are launching a capital fundraising campaign to raise $6M for the downtown campus and scholarships. At the time, they said they were already halfway there, so I'd imagine they'll be able to find another 3 million somewhere.

EICC announces $6M fundraising effort for urban campus -QCTimes

The project will move five floors of classrooms from the Kahl Building to a larger, centralized mini-campus in two former bank buildings downtown. The First Federal Bank and First Midwest Bank buildings on 3rd Street between Brady and Main streets will be connected by a third structure, creating a combined 80,000 square feet with a 1,500-student capacity.

The Kahl Building then would be renovated into 80 market-rate apartments while the historic Capitol Theatre will be transformed into a first-run movie theater.

In addition, college offices that now occupy second-floor space at the Transit Center on River Drive will relocate to the new campus.

The three-building renovation could begin by next spring, and the target date for holding classes at the new downtown campus is the fall of 2017.