Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Downtown Developments (maybe)

First of all, a lot of people have been wondering what's going on with the Forrest Block building at 4th and Brady. Many, including myself, were worried about this project falling through, especially because so little progress seems to have been made. The dumpster disappeared recently, and as I was walking home from the LeClaire Park meeting Monday night the front door was wide open and unsecured, which didn't seem like a good sign at all.

However, from Alderman Frink's blog, I paste this info:
7) What is happening to the Forest Block building?

A) The City has conditionally awarded Highland Investments $200,000 to assist in the redevelopment of the fa├žade of the building through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Downtown Redevelopment Program. This program is for the removal of slum and blighted conditions in targeted downtown commercial buildings. Because the program is federally funded, we had to conduct an environmental assessment on the building. That environmental assessment has been completed and final clearance was received by the federal government approximately ten days ago. A commitment letter from the City to the company will go out later this week. The CDBG award will be contingent upon the company securing all financing for the project, which I understand the company is in the process of finalizing.
That's good news for sure. I must say that I can't think of a single building in Davenport the would make a better poster child for "slum and blighted conditions."


In other news, does anyone know what's happening in the block between 3rd and 4th and Scott and Western? There's been a lot of earth-moving, digging, demolition, and other assorted activity at the site next to the pawn shop there for several months. For a while it looked like they were tunneling under 3rd street. Nobody that I've talked to knows anything about new construction there, so is it just a new parking lot? Anybody?

Also, yesterday's QCTimes article about the Mississippi Lofts might be the article that finally convinces me to give up reading the QCTimes.comments. I don't know if the comments are coming from 8 year olds, or 80 year olds, but whoever they are they have no idea about current rental prices. (or much of anything else) It seems like no matter what the article, most of the commenters there are negative about it. The reason you probably won't ever see this blog listed on the QCTimes blogroll is because I don't want all that additional negativity over here.

11 Comments:

At 4/25/2007 7:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard that it is a group a lawyers from Cedar Rapids building an office building there. Really shows off the Tri-City Equipment building-they will be doing some exterior improvement to their building. By the way QCI, I think that someone used your name on a nasty post on that QC Times story.

 
At 4/25/2007 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad they could not save that cool old Pontiac sign that was on the side of the building they tore down.

 
At 4/25/2007 10:11 AM, Blogger Snarky Chick said...

I think using the CBDG for Forrest Block is one of the best uses I've seen yet. That is such a visible location I think it will have a large impact and the building itself will be beautiful again once restored. As many have said, our historic buildings here are really a treasure and we should do what we can to save the savable.

 
At 4/25/2007 10:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was told that the cleared out lots across from the courthouse are going to be used as parking for the expanded courthouse. That information came from some sources at the courthouse.

 
At 4/25/2007 2:57 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I think that person on the QCTimes was addressing his comment to me, as I had posted something a few comments up. Hopefully most people realize that and don't think I'm arguing with myself.

 
At 4/25/2007 9:24 PM, Blogger Dave said...

The comments on most any article in the Times make me wonder if anyone is positive about anything in this area! I'm an optimist at heart but it's harder when I spend too much time reading the comments. Thanks for the info and questions in this post about downtown development. I've been traveling and starting a new job so it's been tough to keep up!

 
At 4/26/2007 5:21 AM, Blogger Kyle said...

Hi guys, Im new to the blog deal. Ive mostly gone to the QCTIMES.COM to post and agree that most people seem to have no clue and im not sure why? Just outlandish statements about how and why a project is gonna fail. Id like to say generally I think most people in the QC want change and are excited about how to accomplish it. Although we may differ on how that comes about, the result Ive found amongst my friends in their 20s and 30s is not dissimilar to mine. I moved back from Upstate NY to the QC a few years ago and of course so many changes have occured in that time. Very encouraging things have happened especially in the past year with elements of RiverVision coming to fruition as well as more and more audacious ideas being thought of. I applaud the city of Davenport the creation of the Design Center and what they've fostered already including the Leclaire Park Expansion. The one thing I will say, (sort of my first time manifesto lol),whether its Davenport, Rock Island, or Moline-there needs to be a better understanding of how to attract jobs and not just blue collar but white collar. We need to attempt to bring the cutting edge industries that create new and exciting jobs, and not just the old lion manufacturing jobs. If you take a look at the city planning maps for 2020 or 2025 for the QC burroughs as I have, you notice they are still relying heavily on industrial jobs and zoning agricultural land they plan to buy as such, instead of a park or residential or for larger tech business parks. For me, being a younger person in my 20s I and others like me in the younger generation understand the need to preserve the past while recognizing the need to plan for the future. Frankly, more blue collar jobs are not going to cause tens of thousands of workers to move from Pittsburgh or Boston, or Los Angeles or even other parts of Illinois and Iowa. We not only need young people to come from outside the QC and work the white collar tech jobs we have or want to attract but we need them to replace the blue collar jobs too and hope they stay to fill them! One thing we do have going for us though is civic pride. However, the division that is often mentioned of Davenport versus Bettendorf Moline versus Rock Island Iowa versus Illinois has got to stop. I was talking to a woman in her early 50s the other day about it and I mentioned bonds and taxes and the need for improvements and she brought up how the roads are better in Iowa than Illinois. wah?? Whats that gotta do with anything? I think buildings that can be renovated, especially downtown should be. However,there will come a moment where theres less and less to renovate whether its structures or parks. We need to admit at some point that we have to have a serious downtown development that includes buildings such as the 20 story condo theyre thinking of building in downtown Moline. We are a city of 5 communities and we need a better indentity that recognizes our accomplishments to the history of this country. All the history we have and no museums to the local history? No nationally recognizeable monuments? Things we shouldve done in the 50s when other midwest cities were growing and modernizing and we chose to act as though we were a quaint town where businesses never left. Well Rock Island Line, Farmall, International Harvester, Case, Caterpillar, anyone see the trend? I hate to say it, but many will leave because of the change, but more will come. So to accomplishments that have occured since 2000 and are keeping the momentum swinging our way its all a good thing. Unless we do things that are worth while in our downtowns especially as it relates to economic and residential growth, its worthless. All we'll have are parks people complain about aren't kept up well or buildings that become vacant again because the tenant couldn't attract any clientel in a city without proper planning and vision. Specifically related to this article, Im glad when buildings that cant be salavged are torn down, although Im not sure how I feel about tearing them down for parking lots. Nonetheless Im highly encouraged by the vision I felt has been lacking in these cities for some time and hopefully the positive change isn't temporary.

 
At 4/26/2007 7:10 AM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

So we have one person saying the project near the courthouse is an office building, and one saying its a parking lot. Any easy way I can verify either of these theories?

And welcome to the blogs Kyle.

 
At 4/26/2007 3:14 PM, Blogger QuadCityImages said...

I'm hearing some confirmation via email of the parking thing, which does mesh with the fact that when I asked some city folks about what was happening there they didn't seem to know.

 
At 5/06/2007 6:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The red tape on the Forrest Block project has been daunting, at best. It's not falling through, just crawling along.

 
At 5/15/2007 7:08 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Post concerning the Mississippi Lofts article and QCTimes commments - Logically, I agree that some of the comments were less than intellegent but I can understand the frustration - I am a 24 year old single male whom is moving to Davenport in a few weeks for a new job - The fact still remains that it is incredibly confusing why 52 of these units are income restricted. Because I make a few thousand more dollars a year than the restriction cutoff, I can't even think about living in these units because the market prices are ridiculous? Obviously this is not the only rental property in the Quad Cities that operates on this low income system. The truth is that a single person whom makes a decent income is looking at a horrible market to find a place to live.

 

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