Originally Posted Online: Jan. 30, 2013, 2:40 pm
Last Updated: Jan. 30, 2013, 10:46 pm

Hyatt complex, park planned for former Case-IH site

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By Anthony Watt, awatt@qconline.com

Photo:
Plans for Fountainhead of the Quad Cities include a 250-room Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotel complex. The hotel complex will include both overnight and extended-stay accommodations with the rooms divided equally between the two types.
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Photo: Gary Krambeck
J. Paul Beitler, the developer for River Eagle's proposed Fountainhead project, unveils plans on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2012, for Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels as part of the redevelopment of the former Case-IH plant in East Moline.

Five years of development at the former Case-IH site in East Moline will generate 2,000 jobs and cost about about $150 million, according to its developer.

A revitalized version of the proposed development was shared Wednesday by River Eagle group, composed of Mike VanDeHeede, Matt Stern, Dan Murphy and state Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline. 

In 2010, the group announced it had bought 132 acres of the site for about $1.5 million with the intention of developing it into a mixed business and residential district initially named Port of Call Quad Cities.

It since has received a new name -- Fountainhead of the Quad Cities -- and a new design, including 250 rooms in the Hyatt Place and Hyatt House hotels, a park of more than three acre with a band stand and a sports center, said J. Paul Beitler, president of Beitler Real Estate Services LLC, River Eagle's developer.

“This will be the largest single multi-use development in Illinois,” Mr. Beitler said during a news conference Wednesday at East Moline's City Hall.

The project is expected to start this summer with infrastructure work and the park. The first buildings to be erected will be the hotel complex and 300 apartments, he said. 

Mr. Beitler said they hope to have the hotel open within 18 to 20 months. The hotel complex will be equally divided between overnight and extended-stay accommodations, he said.

Then will come the development's retail sections, which will include a gas station, a pharmacy and a bank.

In total, the work could take three to five years, he said. The projected 2,000 jobs include both construction and permanent jobs. 

Helmut Jahn, the architect for the hotel, said he wants it to be more than just a place to stay. He wants it to be a public place.

“It relates to the river,” he said. “It becomes a special place.” Visitors will be able to watch bald eagles or participate in events, he said.

The proposal includes a sports center with basketball and soccer courts, condominiums, housing for senior citizens and a self-storage facility, according to information presented at the news conference.

East Moline Mayor John Thodos said he liked the updated plan.

“It's much better than earlier concepts I've seen for the ground,” he said.

Also on Wednesday, the city held a public hearing on a tax increment financing district for the project.

In late 2011, the city council created a TIF district for the River Eagle project. Late last year, however, city officials and Mr. VanDeHeede of River Eagle said the tax assessment never was adjusted to reflect the $1.5 million paid for the property and, instead, cited an older, much higher valuation of about $6 million, meaning River Eagle was paying too much tax.

To rectify the situation, River Eagle must have Rock Island County change the assessment, and the TIF district must be dissolved and recreated. Creating a new district is the only way to adjust the TIF under state law, Mayor Thodos said at the time.

The new TIF district will reflect the adjusted tax assessment and will be known by the project's original name, "Port of Call," city administrator Cole O'Donnell said Wednesday night.

A handful or people were present at the hearing, but no questions were asked. Afterward, Janet Neff of the East Moline school board said she thought the plan would be good for the city.

"I think East Moline needs more development," she said.

Marcos Alvarez, an East Moline resident, said he was concerned about the effect the project might have on a nearby mobile home park. Officials told him there would be none.