Davenport's Warehouse District Transforms Over Ten Years - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Davenport's Warehouse District Transforms Over Ten Years

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For years, several old, dilapidated warehouses sat empty or under-used in the four-block area of downtown Davenport near 5th and Iowa Streets.    

But since the early 2000's, loft apartments have been popping up here. So far, four old warehouses have been renovated into low-income and market rate apartments.  

Now four new development projects will help fill up nearly all the buildings in that four-block area, adding more than 100 new apartments.  

Several years ago, most of the buildings looked rundown, with broken windows, and mostly vacant. Now nearly all the old warehouse buildings in this area have been snatched up by developers looking to turn them into loft apartments.  

"This was a decrepit old warehouse district for a number of years," Davenport Alderman-at-Large Gene Meeker says. 

He says the warehouse district ten years ago is not the one we see today. 

"Businesses had abandoned the buildings and had moved on to other areas," Meeker says, "They were all in major disrepair, vandalism, windows broken, all kinds of activities going on in these buildings." 

Some had been vacant for almost seven years. 

"So when the opportunity came to find a major developer who was willing to invest and restore these buildings, it was a major find for the city," Meeker says. 

That developer was the Alexander Company, based in Madison, WI. 

"What we saw as a decrepit old area, they saw as a great opportunity," Meeker says. 

The company has transformed four buildings in the area so far with the help of low income housing tax credits. About 87 percent of those units are occupied, with another building on the way.  

"We'll have one and two bedroom units, there will be a fitness room, as well as a community room and office," Crescent Lofts Assistant Property Manager Judy Hoffmiller says. 

"Ii already have a waiting list for this new building and we just started construction," she says. 

Three other projects from local developers and Restoration St. Louis are also in the works. Almost all the developers have prior experience redeveloping other buildings downtown, using a combination of funding from low interest loans and state and federal tax credits to private equity.   

"We started a population movement downtown," Meeker says, "The success of this area has led to other projects outside of the warehouse district." 

When all is said and done, there will be well over 200 market rate and low income housing apartments in this area.  

"Quite frankly it's turning into a beautiful area and a nice living environment." 

Work on the Alexander Company's latest building at 5th and Iowa is underway and the company hopes to have that open by next year. The other projects in the works in that area are still working to secure funding. Those units will be a combination of market rate and low income housing. They have completion dates tentatively scheduled for the end of next year into early 2015.