Davenport Dock Moves Forward, Warehouse at K's Does Not - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport Dock Moves Forward, Warehouse at K's Does Not

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One of two big developments in Davenport is moving forward, after nearly three-dozen residents laid out pros and cons for nearly three hours Wednesday night.

Both proposed projects would fill in buildings that have sat empty for years, K'sMerchandise at Kimberly and Marquette, and the Dock Restaurant along the riverfront. Many say they have been eyesores and targets for vandals for too long, but have been unable to agree on what should happen next. That changed when city leaders gave the green light to a new Dock project.

It's been controversial and the subject of heated debate. While some want to leave the riverfront pristine, others want to replace the old restaurant lost to fire years ago, but are conflicted about this new project. It's an 85-thousand square foot building with retail and restaurants on the first floor, office space on 2 and 3, and banquet space on four, costing 24-million-dollars. Some are concerned it's just too big, will block river views and doesn't fit in with the river vision plan.

Molly Newell told the council, "A glass palace was not what we were thinking about last time we sat down and looked at Rivervision." But Developer Todd Raufeisen says, "We responded to an rfp. We won the rfp, We spent over one year, hundreds of man hours, 150 thousand dollars of our cash, designing and going through due diligence of this project."

Something Alderman Bill Boom says the council appreciates. "We did not tear down the Dock for a specific reason in my mind, and that's that we wanted to have something down there." He says that will encourage people to come and stay and enjoy the river. Aldermen moved this forward unanimously. The development agreement, contingent on approval of final design, height and building materials as incorporated into the Rivervision plan. And an economic development agreement moves forward too. The city is expecting to TIF nearly 6-million dollars over 15 years.

The other development on the agenda got twice as much discussion, but the potential developer of the old K's Merchandise site, Murray's Warehousing, did not fare so well. Aldermen listened to more than a dozen neighbors who say it's just wasn't the right fit.

Ann Condon tells us, "I've been here a little over a year, but this all used to be my backyard. And the house on the other side of this one being built, that was our house for 33 years and this was all our backyard." Condon says she doesn't want a warehouse in that backyard. She doesn't want semis rolling through her neighborhood to get to it. And she's not the only homeowner concerned about those big trucks.

Twenty people got up to speak to the council, talking traffic and safety when it comes to children at nearby schools,and concerned about noise. Most telling us they don't have a problem with the developer, just with the project at this location, even with Chamber of Commerce numbers showing the warehouse would bring more than 10 million dollars to the city over three years, along with 40 jobs.

And as property owner Zack Sottos explained, re-zoning this and bringing a warehouse would go a long way toward infill. "Retail's moved on to 53rd and Utica Ridge and Elmore. Mr. Murray has come up with an adaptive use of an existing vacant building." One the council ultimately decided was not appropriate for this site.

At the same time, aldermen directed city staffers to work toward finding a tenant for the building and to help the company that would have moved in, Murray's Warehousing, find a new space.

 

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