Archive for August, 2014

Terrostar/Medix Dental – New Business

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , , , on August 29, 2014 by Tory Brecht


300 Brady Street
Total Investment: $150,000-$200,000
Total Public Investment: Up to $30,000 (Downtown Davenport Partnership construction funds)
Private Funds Leveraged: $150,000-$200,000
Jobs Created: 5
Status: Targeted opening end of 2014


A very old building in the heart of downtown Davenport will soon be the home of two very modern companies.

Terrostar and Medix Dental – which do online marketing and IT and technology support for the dental industry, respectively – are moving into the former Schneff Jeweler s and First Trust and Savings Building at the corner of Third and Brady streets. Tom Terronez, who owns both companies, says he hopes to have the 20-plus member staff moved into the renovated third floor of the nearly century old building by the end of 2014.

“A lot of stuff is happening in downtown Davenport, and being a tech-based business, we wanted something that fits our personality,” he said. “We love the historic building and we love being close to the action going on. My staff is very young and they want to be near the restaurants, bars and other things going on.”

The companies are currently housed on a couple different floors in their Bettendorf building on Utica Ridge Road, and Terronez plans to add five new employees in the current year. Being out of room, and wanting to consolidate operations, are another reason for the move, he said.


There is quite a bit of work to do to convert the former administration offices of Palmer College of Chiropractic into a tech-savvy, open design workspace. Although the high ceilings and bright windows remain, pretty much everything else will be updated and renovated, Terronez said.

The building’s owner – TR Holdings – has plans to create second floor apartments and first floor retail and loft space – but there is not a firm construction timeline at this point, said a company spokesman. Work will also include some facade cleanup on the building that was erected in 1918.

Terronez said his project should fit in nicely with recently announced plans Eastern Iowa Community College’s new “urban campus” in the renovated bank buildings across 3rd Street. He hopes to bring in interns from both the college and from the Davenport School District’s Creative Arts Academy.

“The long-term vision is to have downtown Davenport be a tech and education corridor,” he said.



New Project: Downtown SCC Campus and Kahl Renovation

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , , on August 13, 2014 by Tory Brecht


Total Investment: $50 Million (estimated)
Total Public Investment: TBD
Private Funds Leveraged: TBD
Jobs Created: 200-plus (estimated, construction & full-time)


The vacant First Midwest Bank building will be converted into one of the core campus buildings for Scott CC downtown

The pace of development in downtown Davenport is accelerating even faster with the announcement of a major public-private partnership between Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and developer Restoration St. Louis that will renovate three major buildings over the next two years.

Under the terms of the proposed agreement, around $50 million will be invested to create a brand new downtown urban campus for Scott Community College and renovation of the Kahl Building (the current home of Scott classrooms) into market rate housing, first floor retail, and the long-awaited restoration of the Capitol Theater.

Two vacant and deteriorating buildings – the former First Midwest Bank and former First Federal Bank/Social Security Administration building on 3rd Street – will be renovated and make up the core of the new campus building. The 80,000 square-foot campus will feature classrooms, computer labs, a science lab, student commons, outdoor plaza, meeting place and administrative offices. The college’s current classrooms and offices in both the Kahl Building and the Ground Transportation Center will be consolidated on the new campus.

The Kahl will then be taken over by Restoration St. Louis and renovated into an 80-90 unit apartment building featuring first-floor retail and the new and improved Capitol Theatre. The theatre will be a big screen, first-run movie house that likely will serve food and alcoholic beverages, according to Restoration St. Louis.


Project costs are calculated at approximately $50 million. Financing will come from a variety of sources, including Historic Preservation Tax Credits, traditional lending, bond issuance proceeds and a capital campaign by Eastern Iowa Community College. EICC Chancellor Don Doucette vowed that no property taxes or tuition increases will be part of the funding. Sam Estep, senior VP of development for Restoration, said the company does plan to submit an economic development agreement to the City of Davenport at some point. This likely will involve economic incentives, but what exactly those will entail is still being worked out.

The timeline is to finalize feasibility studies and cost estimates by late fall of this year and begin construction in 2015, Estep said. College officials would like to move into classrooms in 2016.

“This is a really exciting opportunity to meet not only the growing needs of a local educational resource, but to do so while creating a major economic development project,” said Estep. “We remain very excited about the future of downtown Davenport.”

Artisan Grain Distillery – New Business

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , on August 11, 2014 by Tory Brecht

Doing-it-in-Davenport_Black 318 E. 2nd St. Total Investment: $500,000 Total Public Investment: $0 Private Funds Leveraged: $500,000 Jobs Created: 10 Status: Opening in September   Artisan Grain Distillery will be opening in this building in downtown Davenport soon

Downtown Davenport will be even more “spirited” soon, with micro-distillery Artisan Grain readying to open right next door to the already-thriving Great River Brewery. Opening the distillery is a dream come true for owner Allen Jarosz, an aviation industry retiree and successful businessman who also founded Davenport Tractor Inc., which sells replacement parts for antique tractors with a major focus on John Deere. The tractor business will continue to operate out of the back of the historic 8,600-square-foot building on 2nd Street, while the front of the building is in the midst of a transformation into a visitor-friendly distillery and tasting room/gift shop.


The open space near the brick wall in this photo soon will be home to 6 fermenters and a large copper still

“Distilling has been a love of mine, ever since attending distilling school in Kentucky,” said Jarosz. “I really decided to take the plunge and turn it into a business last January.” That’s a bit harder to do than one might think, thanks to extremely strict regulations put in place on the spirits industry by the federal Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, or TTB for short. Jarosz said he received tremendous help navigating local, state and federal permitting and licensing issues from Davenport aldermen Bill Boom, 3rd Ward and Jason Gordon, At-Large. He also got some tips and tactics from Mississippi River Distilling Company in LeClaire, which has been in business for several years already.

“Craft distillers don’t consider other distillers as competitors, rather as friends that may be called on for help when needed,” he said. “Those guys are really pioneers, not only in Iowa, but on the national level as a micro-distillery.”

Jarosz said one thing that makes Artisan Grain unique is an uncompromising adherence to keeping things local. All the grains used in the process will be grown on a 120-acre organic farm he owns in Milan.

“We will grow and mill the grain,  ferment, distill and age the spirits, for national distribution or local consumption,” he said.  “By growing our own organic or kosher grains we may control the quality, and selection of grains available in the manufacture of our product, and allows us to customize our product taste by growing grains that may not be in abundance to other distilleries. This whiskey will be made from grain grown here in the Quad-Cities and distilled and bottled here in Davenport.”

Artisan Grain takes an old-school approach to the manufacturing process

Artisan Grain takes an old-school approach to the manufacturing process

Because finer whiskeys need to be aged in wooden barrels – often for years – the initial product line from Artisan Grain will consist of moonshine, white whiskey, white rum and other “young” spirits. Longer-term, a full line of whiskeys and bourbons are planned. Jarosz is awaiting delivery on six 7-foot-tall fermenting tanks and a 24-foot-tall copper still with a price tag of $150,000 before production can get underway. He is targeting a Sept. 15 date for the start of manufacturing and hopes to have the first spirits ready to sip on Oct. 24.

“That is also the date of a new moon, so what better time to break out some moonshine?” he said.

Moonshine bottles are ready for filling

Moonshine bottles are ready for filling

The tasting room and gift shop should be open in January. Jarosz said deciding to locate in Davenport was pretty easy. “I’ve lived in the Quad-Cities for many years and I find Davenport to be very forward-thinking and progressive in terms of supporting business,” he said. “There is also always something going on and things to do.”