Redeveloping The Vacant Dock - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Redeveloping The Vacant Dock

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Davenport city council members discussed moving Rhythm City Casino, and developing the nearby vacant dock, at a work session Monday. They plan to move the casino off the river to south of I-80 along Veterans Memorial Parkway. Now, city leaders want to build a new road to get customers there. They want to expand Elmore Avenue north, crossing Veterans Memorial Drive. City officials say this will not impact I-74, and they want the casino to foot the bill.

With Rhythm City moving, city leaders are talking about what the riverfront will look like, including a brand new plan for the dock, which was unveiled at the session. The latest plan is three stories tall, with restaurants, event and office space. The building would extend to the river wall. Developers say it should allow one of the best views on the entire Mississippi.

"We want to give them the option to hear the river, see the river, 12 months a year," developer Todd Raufeisen said.

He has come up with several ideas for the dock. His latest vision focuses on getting a good look at the river, which was a concern in some of his previous designs.

"Because the process has taken almost 18 months, almost two years, some things have changed," he said.

The building would have a four-season's porch that he says is suitable for all weather conditions.

"In August, when it's 110 degrees, it's air conditioned with glass," he said. "In January, when it's minus 20 degrees, it's heated with glass."

The envisioned building is under 38,000 square feet. The majority would be taken up by restaurants, which haven't yet been revealed. Raufeisen says they are not from the Quad Cities Area.

Offices will all be on the second floor. Although the majority of council members support the building's design, Mayor Bill Gluba says he doesn't want offices on the riverfront.

"Public land, parkland, should be used totally, in my judgement, for public purposes," he said. "It shouldn't be leased for private investors and developers, and business people who just want to make money off of it."

Flooding is another concern. Developers say a viewing area, modeled after other riverfront buildings across the country, will flood no matter what. However, they say they're prepared for that.

"It would either have to be cleanable, removable," Raufeisen said.

With informational signs, that area is also designed for viewers to learn more about local history.

"We're blessed to have a place in Quad Cities, where all this growth and action is taking place and we want to keep it that way," Mayor Gluba said.

Many people are calling the current vacant dock an eyesore, and city council members would like to see it removed. The developers, and Mayor Gluba, recommend demolishing it once they're ready to do construction for the new building.

The building itself holds a lot of history. It was once a popular restaurant, which closed its doors in 2003 when a fire destroyed the building. It has also battled its fair share of flooding. High river levels forced it to close for extended periods of time in 1993, 1997 and 2001.

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