WIU Expansion, New Hotels To Moline - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

WIU Expansion, New Hotels To Moline

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WIU Quad Cities is set to expand into its second phase, bringing a yearly $24 million of investment along with jobs to the QCA. 

It's part of a bigger project to re-vitalize the riverfront. 

Wednesday the university announced a contractor to complete the project. The expansion will be able to accommodate more than 3,000 students, adding on space for new majors and moving the university's second campus up on 60th Street down to the riverfront. 

Construction will start this spring with the new addition set to open in Fall 2014. 

And as WIU prepares to double its student population with expansion, next door the city of Moline is working to develop River Tech. 

City officials say project developers are planning for 150 apartments for the area, retail space, and restaurants. 

"We're very excited by it," WIU-QC Vice President Dr. Joe Rives says, "Not only is it a natural recruitment device for students, faculty and staff, but we don't have to build dormitories, we don't have to build food service, we don't have to pass those costs onto students." 

The developer is working on new designs, and the city hopes to push forward with River Tech by the time phase two of WIU is finished.  

With the new influx of students, the city is planning to accommodate more parents and other new visitors with new hotels. 

A Hyatt Plaza or Hilton hotel will move into the old John Deere Collectors building; its target is to open by the end of this year. 

"It will actually complement the market by providing more rooms for larger banquets, meetings that can be hosted down at the I Wireless Center so we think it actually works well together," Ted Rebitzer of the Moline Hotel Group says.  

The hotel will have 100 rooms, and bring up to 35 hotel jobs and 80 construction jobs to Moline.  

Down the road, the owners of the Radisson have stepped in to re-develop the O'Rourke building into a multi-modal Amtrak station. 

"We plan on putting in a restaurant and coffee shop first floor, and on top of the station there will be an extended stay hotel on floors two through six," David Yordy of the Amin Group says.  

That's scheduled to be up and running by 2014, with train service starting in 2015. 

It's all part of a new downtown Moline, coming soon. 

"It's such a changing time for Moline and the riverfront," Dr. Rives says.

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