Archive for Downtown Residential

L&D15 – New Business

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


520 W. 2nd Street

Status: November Opening
Job Created: TBD


Exterior of L&D 15


Since moving from Brooklyn to Davenport a little more than a year ago, David Balluff and Lopeti Etu have searched long and hard to find the perfect space for their eclectic hand-made clothing and hat (and other stuff) store.

A brief residency in cramped quarters at Bucktown came to an end awhile ago, and the pair have been busy fulfilling mail order requests in their apartment since. But they finally found what they were looking for in The Market building on W. 2nd Street.

“It’s a great location for us, with gigantic windows and close to the Farmers’ Market, the Figge, the bike trail and other things going on down here,” said Balluff, who manufactures organic cotton and bamboo silkscreen shirts, dresses, sarongs, onsies, tank tops and other fine products under the name General Assembly.

His partner, Lopeti Etu, creates hand-blocked hats of all sorts, under the brand Lopeti Etu Millinery.

Both of their complete lines of products, as well as those of other local and far-flung original designers, will be housed at the new L&D 15 limited edition clothing, accessories and housewares shop.

Balluff said the fact the building was known as the New York Hat Company in the 1910s, made it seem like the perfect home for he and Lopeti’s vision.

“We’re bringing back not only hat manufacturing, but we were recently in New York ourselves,” he said.

Brand new windows help spruce up L&D 15

Brand new windows help spruce up L&D 15

Etu and Balluff plan to reach out to artists and designers both locally and internationally, including open calls for artists/makers and other creatives to present new products. That will happen closer to the studio’s opening.

“We’re trying to build something that gives back to the community,” Balluff said. “Our target market isn’t young or old, rich or poor. It’s people who appreciate things made by hand.”

He calls this “retail 2.0” – meaning L&D 15 won’t be just a place to shop, but a living workshop and community gathering space.

Part of their interior work that includes renovating floors and painting. They are using lumber from Davenport Public Works’ urban wood utilization program. They plan to open sometime in November.




Halligan Coffee Company Building – Redevelopment

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , , on March 26, 2014 by Tory Brecht


402 E. 4th Street
Total Investment: $7 million
Public Funds: $842,443 in state investment tax credits and sales and utility tax rebates
Private Funds Leveraged: $6 million
Status: Ongoing
New Housing Units: 45

Exterior of Halligan Coffee Company Building

The second-largest, and arguably highest-profile and most visible of Davenport’s Warehouse District buildings, is at long last undergoing a massive renovation, adding 45 more apartments to the burgeoning residential neighborhood on downtown’s eastern edge.

The project is another by developer Joe Erenberger and partners Y&J Properties, who recently renovated the Peterson Paper Company building on 2nd Street.

Like the Peterson building, the Halligan Coffee Company Building – constructed in 1907 – was long under-utilized for commercial purposes and was falling into serious disrepair. But the bones of a fantastic building are still evident, from the tall multi-hung sash sets and brick arches, vast 22-foot ceilings, carved stone decorative panes in the building entrance to the stained kiln bricks on the upper floors where coffee was roasted.

Tall ceilings and arched windows are some of the architectural elements in the Halligan building.


Erenberger said converting the 60,000 square-foot, century-old Classical Revival Style factory and office building into a modern loft apartment complex is among his most challenging and ambitious projects yet. But the work he’s done downtown so far has led him to learn a lot.

“We’re moving faster than we ever have before,” he said, adding that leasing could begin in as little as seven months from now. The building will feature seven units per floor – with one, two and three bedroom configurations – and will range in price from $900 to $1,500 per month. All units are market rate. They will also include cable, internet and access to public gathering areas inside and outside as part of the rent. He expects the building to be attractive to young professionals, corporate transplants and empty nesters alike.


One of the other unique challenges to the project has been cleaning up and improving the exterior of the property – both on the building itself and the surrounding lot. Erenberger partnered with the YMCA – which owns the adjacent land to the east of the building – to clear out dozens of invasive trees, weeds and other unwanted plants. In addition to tuck pointing brick and re-painting the historic commercial messages on the outside of the building, he plans on turning the concrete-heavy lot to the southeast of the building into a park-like public area. The outside space is challenging because it once served as the footings of a railroad spur servicing the Warehouse District.

Erenberger said he’s enjoyed learning about the history of the Halligan building – and the regional coffee company that was a big part of Davenport’s early development – as work has progressed. The company was begun by Thomas Halligan and partners in 1884 and quickly expanded as a distributor of coffee, tea, spices and other food stuffs throughout the upper Midwest. The company grew to more than 100 employees by the early 20th century, necessitating the building of the Halligan Coffee Company Building in 1907. The company ceased operations in 1952 due to global competition from larger distributors.

There will be quite a few nods to the coffee company’s history throughout the building, including the possibility of a commercial connection at some point, Erenberger hinted.

The Halligan Coffee Company Building circa 1935

The Halligan Coffee Company Building circa 1935


5th Street Lofts – Re-development

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , on October 25, 2013 by Tory Brecht


500 Iowa Street

Total Investment: $8.6 million
Public Funds: $4.8 million in combined Federal and State Historic Tax Credits and Commnity Development Block Grant funding.
Private Funds Leveraged: $3.8 million
Status: Underway soon
New Housing Units: 33

This empty warehouse at 5th and Iowa will soon be new apartments

The former Quad City Tire building will be the next new apartment building in the Warehouse District

The steady conversion of nearly all the former warehouse and industrial buildings on the near east side of downtown Davenport is still going strong. The Alexander Company of Madison, Wisconsin – a leader in urban infill design – is converting the vacant Quad City Tire building at 5th and Iowa into a 33-unit apartment building. This will be Alexander’s fourth rehab in what it calls the Historic Crescent Warehouse District.

“The buildings we’ve developed all have some character and unique features,” said Colin Cassady, development project manager. “They’re not white boxes out in the suburbs. If you can give people a product they like in a location they like, they’ll rent it.”

The development provides housing for people of various incomes, with 18 of the units set aside for residents earning 80 percent of the area median income and the remaining at market rate. Most of Alexander’s residents in their other units are younger single folks in their 20s and 30s, Cassady said.

The building will add some nice amenities, including heated parking a fitness center and rooftop decks. All will be 1 and 2 bedroom units.

“People like living downtown, they like the location. Iowa also has a wonderful state tax credit program which makes historic projects like this appealing,” Cassady said. “Most importantly, the City has the political will to get things done.”

The targeted project comletion date is summer of 2014.

Several more buildings in that neighborhood are targeted for rehab as well. Stay tuned to Doing It in Davenport to hear details!

The Reform Building/The Market – New Business Re-development

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , on September 3, 2013 by Tory Brecht


526 W. 2nd Street and 522-524 W. 2nd Street

Total Investment: $240,000
Status: Targeted fall opening
Job Created: 3-5

The former German language newspaper The Reform called this building home from 1892 to 1943. It is being renovated as a new antique store.The Market building in the 500 block of W. 2nd Street will become an antique mall.

Two more vacant buildings in Davenport’s urban core are getting facelifts and new business/residential tenants. An encouraging sign is these two historic buildings – both of which date to before the turn-of-the-20th Century – are on the near-west side of downtown, an area only a handful of developers have invested in recently.

The intrepid developer is Joe Wonio, who is also a property associate of Financial District Properties, the company adding apartments to the Union Arcade and Wells Fargo buildings downtown. This project is independent of Financial District Properties, however.

“I was looking for a building to both live in and lease for business as my first project, and Kyle Carter of the Downtown Partnership called me and told me Chenhall’s was for sale,” Wonio said, referring to the staffing company that was the last tenant of The Reform building at 526 W. 2nd Street. “I like the neighborhood, it’s a lively area close to the ballpark, and I can walk to work.”

Wonio is converting the second floor of The Reform building into his personal apartment. The first floor will be home to Company 38 Antiques, owned and operated by Lorie Charles, who already runs a successful antique business in Eldridge. Charles has also helped Wonio line up tenants for The Market building next door, which will become an antique mall. Previously it was home to a thrift shop and a barbershop, but has been empty for several years. Both businesses are expected to employ up to five, Wonio said.

“I’ve been wanting to be in downtown Davenport for years,” said Charles, who has been in the antique business for 15 years. “For my type of business, we need to be real close to the center of downtown, but not right in it. This is perfect.”

Lorie Charles, owner of Company 38 Antiques, is already collecting merchandise in her new space.

Lorie Charles, owner of Company 38 Antiques, is already collecting merchandise in her new space.

The building at 526 W. 2nd is on the National Register of Historic places, built in 1892 as the home of the German language Newspaper The Iowa Reform. The newspaper peaked in circulation in 1912, serving the local tri-city Germans, with 4,000 subscribers. During World War I, most Iowa German papers ceased publication because of anti-German sentiment, but The Reform continued by complying with a government requirement that each issue be translated into English and filed with federal censors. By 1938, The Reform was the sole surviving German paper in Iowa with a circulation of 3,240. It folded in 1943 due to anti-German sentiment associated with World War II.

Wonio said he’s excited to be bringing new development to the west side of downtown. He thinks the recent residential boom a bit further east is going to continue spreading, and will boost retail, commercial and business development in the central city.

“One successful project builds on another,” he said. “It’s kind of a domino effect.”

Union Arcade – New Apartments/First Floor Commercial

Posted in Projects with tags , , , on August 27, 2013 by Tory Brecht


229 N. Brady Street
Total Investment: $14 million
State Historic Tax Credits: $3.3 million
Enterprise Zone Benefits $1.3 million
Status: Ongoing
Total Units: 68
Commercial/Retail: Entire first floor, tenants TBD
Projected jobs created: TBD

The Union Arcade building at 111 E. 3rd Street

Financial District Partners is no stranger to big projects. The holder of more than $100 million in real estate in the Quad-Cities, the Davenport-based company recently finished construction of the new Kone Centre office tower in Moline and are in the midst of renovating several floors of the iconic Davenport Bank Building/Wells Fargo tower into apartments.

But the historic rehabilitation of the Union Arcade Building at the busy intersection of 3rd and Brady streets may be the company’s highest visibility project yet in downtown Davenport.

“It’s one of the last few opportunities for a real large-scale historic rehab down there,” said Bryce Henderson, who is CFO and COO of Financial District Properties. “It’s a great location on a highly visible corner and the building has great bones.”

The rehab will feature 68 market unit apartments on the top seven floors of the building. The entire first floor will be retail/commercial, likely with at least one restaurant. Henderson said he is not working with any specific tenants yet, but expects little trouble finding high-quality uses for the first floor due to the location and the built-in market of apartment dwellers both in his building and nearby buildings. There are 6,000-square-feet of space with street views on the first floor and 2,000 more square-feet that are “back-of-house”.

The current interior of the Union Arcade building, awaiting new tenants

The current interior of the Union Arcade building, awaiting new tenants

The building originally featured a second-floor mezzanine, which was covered by a drop ceiling. The drop ceiling will be removed, allowing for the construction of several two-story loft apartments, Henderson said.

“These won’t be cookie-cutter apartments,” he said. “All the units will be very unique to fit into the space.” The building will feature lofts, one and two bedroom apartments. Rents will range from $600 for a studio to $1,300 for the largest two-bedroom.

The company is already hearing from interested renters, but serious construction work will not begin until November. The target building opening is the fall of 2014. All of the existing tenants in the Union Arcade building have relocated in the Quad-Cities, several with assistance from Financial District Properties.

The Democrat Building – Redevelopment

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , , on June 14, 2013 by Tory Brecht


407 Brady Street

Total Investment: $4 million
Public Funds: $2.5 million in federal and state historic tax credits and city Enterprise Zone funds
Private Funds Leveraged: $1.5 million
Status: Ongoing
New Housing Units: 21

The Democrat building at 407 Brady Street is being converted into apartments

The rush to scoop up historic and architecturally significant buildings in downtown Davenport for conversion into market rate apartments continues, with developers Tim Baldwin and Pat Sherman teaming up to redevelop the old Democrat building on Brady Street.

Opened in July 1924 as the new home to the predecessor of today’s Quad-City Times, The Democrat was modeled after similar buildings designed by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan. The local firm was Clausen & Kruse, a predecessor to current architecture firm SSGM Architects. John Gere of SGGM is assisting in the redevelopment, utilizing his firm’s copies of the original plans, bringing a cool sense of symmetry to the endeavor.

“We wanted to dip our toe into historic renovation,” said Baldwin, whose work has mostly centered on student housing across the Midwest, including near Palmer College of Chiropractic. “We decided to do it here at home and we really love this building.”

The Democrat building as it appeared in 1924

The Democrat building as it appeared in 1924

Baldwin and Gere noted that the building – both inside and outside – has retained many of its original architectural touches. Wood paneled offices – including one featuring a fireplace – built-in shelves, a metal spiral staircase, vaulted ceilings with long skylights, will all become nice little touches in the refurbished apartments. Each will be very unique. Rents are expected to range from $900 to $1,200 a month. The basement of the building will be converted into a fitness center and a very large area allowing each apartment owner storage space equivalent to a one-car garage.

The project wouldn’t have been possible without the tax credit program, Baldwin said. One of the big expenses was lead and asbestos abatement in an older building.

The intererior spaces of the building feature high celings and lots of windows.

The first floor of the building contains a wide open lobby area, ringed with a large counter. This area will be preserved as the public entrance to the building, but exactly what use is yet-to-be-determined, Baldwin said. It could be set up as a common area for building residents, made available for use by civic organizations, or possibly be used by a business that would be somewhat “portable” since the area would not be able to be secured from the interior portions of the building at night. What won’t happen, he said, are any significant changes to its architectural integrity.

Abatement is complete and interior construction will begin in July. Baldwin said the target completion date is late spring of 2014.

United Cigar Building – Redevelopment

Posted in Projects with tags , , , , on June 6, 2013 by Tory Brecht


200 3rd St. – 314 Main St.

Total Investment: $1.2 million
Community Growth Fund Loan: $85,000
Private Funds Leveraged: $1.1 million
Status: Ongoing
Projected jobs created: 50-60

The Union Cigar Building at the intersection of Third and Main streets.

Another long under-utilized building on a high-visibility corner of downtown Davenport is getting a second lease on life. The United Cigar Building – built in 1916 by local architectural firm Clausen & Kruse – will soon be home to a 6,000-square foot high end* restaurant, a new retail store, construction firm offices and upscale hair salon. And that’s just the beginning. Local development partners Jim Thomson and Big Dog Construction plan to add several floors of residential apartments and a 2,500-square-foot outdoor rooftop beer garden over the next several years.

Initially, they hope to return the building to its former World War I era grandeur, with an upgrade to the exterior facade and windows. Architectural touches such as a mid-building skylight and restoration of the original 1916 terrazzo floors throughout the restaurant will be featured.

Third and Main in 1916

The United Cigar Building circa 1916

Shawn Larson, co-owner of Big Dog Construction, said the building was designed to accommodate additional stories. How many they add will depend both on a structural assessment by engineering firm Shive-Hattery currently underway and market demand for apartments. But the rooftop beer garden – which will be an extremely unique feature – is a for-sure, he said. “We made several trips to Chicago to scout establishments with the upscale, urban style our restaurant client wanted.” he said. That resterateur wishes to remain anonymous for now, but comes into the project with a great deal of experience, he added.

Interior work on the restaurant is under way.

Interior work on the restaurant is under way

Four tenants – including Big Dog Construction’s new offices – already call the large corner building home. The Ruby Slipper, Rick Jennisch Photography and Studio One Eleven salon are the other existing tenants. Studio One Eleven will be re-branded as Infinity Salon & Spa and will be an Aveda authorized salon.

Developer Jim Thomson bought his first downtown residential property in 1994, due to his love of old buildings. He said even he is slightly surprised by the current resurgence in redevelopment in the central city. “It makes me look like a genius,” he joked. “But I’m doing this because it’s my passion.”

The target date for the restaurant, new retail and upgraded salon to open is early fall of this year, Thomson said. The additional stories and apartments are likely one to two years out, he added.