Thursday, March 30, 2006

CityView Apartments

Yesterday I had the opportunity to get a tour of the new CityView Apartments, located at 7th and Iowa. I was shown the building by the owner, Matthew McDonnell. As many of you know, this building has a long and unfortunate past as the Courtland Apartments. Nearly all of you will be pleased to know that Mr. McDonnell is doing this project completely without taxpayer's money in any form. No city deals, no tax-credits, no low income housing credits, no historic credits. Considering the past of the building, filled with public money and wasteful failures, this is probably a popular decision.

These are luxury apartments. They aren't cheap, but they are very, very nice. They're also a completely different, more traditional style compared the industrial loft style of the Alexander properties. The building is made up of 36 1 and 2 bedroom apartments, ranging in price from $650 to $975 a month. The kitchens really struck me as the leading indicator of the "luxury" status of the apartments. Porcelain and ceramic tile countertops, ceramic tile floors in the kitchens and bathrooms, flat range ovens with built in microwaves, etc. They also have very nice woodgrain cabinets, and they fit in well with the luxury style. While the Davenport Lofts have extremely nice kitchens also, they are a bit more utilitarian in keeping with the style of the buildings.


The building is roughly U-shaped, but during one of the previous renovations, a center public space was built in the middle of the "U." The 2nd floor has railings overlooking the first floor common room, and the 4th floor overlooks the 3rd floor common room. I was especially impressed with how nice these rooms were, especially the 3rd floor room. They are big, with several groupings of tables and/or chairs. Because of the design of the building, only 8 apartments face each of the 2 big common rooms, so it seems like you could have a good atmosphere in there. Mr. McDonnell said they considered a pool table for one of the rooms, but decided that it had too much risk for noise complaints. They are both expected to have wireless internet access. Also, they will allow up to two pets. (Hear that WindingHills?)

The whole place has really been cleaned up, and I realized later that I should have asked if there were any "Before" pictures. There's a rooftop deck that has an amazing view from top of the hill. The main offices of McDonnell and Associates Rental Properties will also be located in the lower level of the building. There are enough off-street parking places for all residents, including 18 garaged parking spaces available for an extra fee. Matt really emphasized his commitment to maintaining a good environment with good residents, and certainly didn't come across as the type of landlord to let things slide as long as the rent is paid. Obviously I'm extremely happy about this, as another 36+ well-behaved residents added to the area should really help the momentum of the whole east side of downtown.










Click thumbnails for larger images

After my hour-long tour, we spent 2 hours talking city politics and apartment stuff, and that really deserves its own post sometime. I'll summarize it by saying that I wish Mr. McDonnell had as much impact on elections as the QCRPA has lately.

We should all be cheering for this project, and for a long-needed success story for the Courtland.
The website for the CityView apartments can be found at CityViewDavenport.com.

26 Comments:

At 3/30/2006 8:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McDonell is a great guy, and should be commended for a job well done. It is also great to realize that this can be done without public money! Are you listening, D1???


I watched him speak downtown though, and his view of City politics is a bit skewed. I think he believes that the Neighborhood Enhancement Office is doing a GREAT job right now, and that is just not the case. There are thousands of environemental complaints each month, and most of them are generated on the same properties. This just department refuses to tackle the hard cases.

 
At 3/30/2006 9:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. McDonell is indeed a great guy. I totally agree with his accessment of the NEO. The have done a great service to the neighborhoods. All we need is for the legal eagles to be as supportive.

 
At 3/30/2006 12:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also agree about McDonnell, but totally disagree with his assessment of the NEO. There are thousands of calls because the NEO never takes action. The legal dept. is the last step in the process. You need to get NEO out there first, but they won't get off their dead asses. Plus, they pass slumlords on rental inspections so they don't have to deal with them. Good riddance!

 
At 3/30/2006 2:49 PM, Blogger WindingHills said...

Those look amazing! I just signed another lease @ Winding Hills, darn it (I'm tryin'). I worked for a contractor on the loft apartments, and I was very impressed with those as well. Maybe next year my family will be able to move downtown, as long as improvements like these continue:)

 
At 3/30/2006 3:34 PM, Blogger Liberal Lion said...

I am interested in seeing whether this remake of the Courtland takes off. The Courtland was originally billed and sold as luxury condos. That fell apart because the price point was too high for the neighborhood and it turned into a mess. Can the Courtland shake its past and attract law abiding tenants? I guess we will see.

 
At 3/30/2006 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can see how the landlord group would be concerned about Mr. McDonnel because he is actually investing to make the slum areas better. The LLs will have to go elsewhere to maintain crappy housing soon.

 
At 3/30/2006 8:32 PM, Anonymous WTM said...

My hat is off to a good job!

I hope this kind of investment in the City of Davenport can go on.

Shows that investment is the right way to encourage growth and revenue, without tax payer's money.

 
At 3/30/2006 9:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hear Mr. McDonnell does not live in Davenport. Doing a good job doesn't matter. If he lives out of town, he should not invest in Davenport. Only slumlords invest where they don't live.

 
At 3/30/2006 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did I hear correctly that the guy in the ballpark refuses to pay the City some $400K that apparently was contracted-for?

Geeze! Is it any wonder that I distrust giving tax monies in any form to slimeball businessmen?

None! Zero! The sunzabiches should stand or fall on their own wallets. That's free enterprise for crying out loud.

 
At 3/31/2006 1:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ballpark guy has not paid his bill because he is owed a credit and wants a proper accounting. Basically, Alan Guard is incompetent and gets paid $150,000.00 per year, but he cannot come up with a simple accounting for the Swing. So, there is a wierd thing going on. Krause won't pay because he has not gotten an accounting and Guard can't give an accounting because he is incompetent. The whole thing boils down to a credit from the City to Krause for the skyboxes, but since Guard is such an idiot, he can't find it.

 
At 3/31/2006 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow - I hope 1:44 a.m. has the facts to back up what he says about Alan Guard. Pretty serious accusations when he's going to be our new Finance Director after today.

 
At 3/31/2006 3:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

what'w the square footage of these units?

 
At 3/31/2006 8:17 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

From 675 to 1070 square feet.

 
At 3/31/2006 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost as big as the Cobblestone HOUSES

 
At 3/31/2006 9:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI-Matt McDonnell does live in Davenport, Iowa and has lived here his whole life. His office is located in City View.

 
At 4/01/2006 3:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, but I have heard the other McDonald lives outside of Davenport. Maybe we should shoot him and put the one that lives in Davenport on trial for associating with a landlord that lives outside of Davenport.

 
At 4/01/2006 6:45 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Some of them are more square feet than the house I grew up in with a family of four. What's your point?

 
At 4/01/2006 7:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So lets back up to the Alan Guard thing here, guys. Does the 1:44 a.m. poster have the facts or is he just shooting off his mouth? That is exactly how ugly rumors get started!!

 
At 4/01/2006 10:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My guess is that Guard is a little smarter that to send Krause a bill for something that he doesn't owe.

I also wouldn't be surprised if the Swing is experiencing some financial problems. Attendance has not met expectations and Krause is charging AAA prices (comparable to the Des Moines Cubs) to see class A baseball. He has to do something to make the baseball experience a little bit more financially friendly to the average family or I see a continued drop in attendance.

 
At 4/01/2006 1:36 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Why is it when I throw up an open thread, I get like 4 comments, then everyone gets WAYYY off topic on all the threads about a specific thing? That's not a rhetorical question, I'm actually curious.

 
At 4/01/2006 5:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My point is that JLCS ripped our city off by building homes with ALL tax dollars the same size as a small apartment and they will profit from directly in the future. That's my point. Good job to McDonnell for doing this project without tax dollars. City staff, JLCS and their supporters all said it couldn't be done SOLO in order to justify their dumb project. They are liars! I am happy to see you QCI supporting someone honest for a change.

 
At 4/02/2006 8:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is the thing with Alan Guard...We pay Guard $150,000.00+ per year in salary, and he does not even keep computerized books. Believe it or not, he runs the city's whole 170 million dollar per year budget on a ledger with a pencil and paper. That is why it takes him so long to come up with figures when the council asks him for things. I have heard that a couple of the aldermen asked him for the amount spent on consultants in 2005. It took him 9 days to get the information, because he does not even keep proper expense accounts. Any kid with the program “quick books” and a college degree could probably do a better job.

 
At 4/02/2006 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you really believe he uses a Big Chief tablet and a quill pen?

I'm sure the entire city uses computerized records, their not exactly in the dark ages.

 
At 4/02/2006 12:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and 8:58 a.m. you know this HOW???

 
At 4/02/2006 1:36 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

Also, where did the 150 grand figure come from? I don't believe that's accurate.

 
At 4/02/2006 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fact that Guard keeps his records on paper instead of in a computer system is fairly well known. As for his pay, I believe that is only 80k per year plus benefits. I suppose it is possible the benefits are 70k per year, but that seems high. With benefits, he probably earns 110k to 120k per year. Still, that is an awful lot for somebody that does not do accounting by computer.

I will list the link to Guard's salary. By the way, the City screwed up and listed his pay at $80k per hour! That might be what his inaccurate accounting costs the taxpayers, but I am pretty sure he only gets 80k per year. Here is that link:


http://agency.governmentjobs.com/davenport/default.cfm?action=viewclassspec&ClassSpecID=35276

 

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