A shiny Quarter: Lighthouse planned at restaurant - Quad-Cities Online: Local

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A shiny Quarter: Lighthouse planned at restaurant

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Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 1998 1:00 am

EAST MOLINE -- Five months after its birth, The Quarter is only five weeks away from adulthood.

Monday the East Moline City Council received its first glimpse not only into the development agreement, but at The Quarter itself, which will feature a restaurant along the river with a working lighthouse.

Revitalize and Develop East Moline (REDEEM) president Doug Reynolds announced Davenport-based Kaizen Company of America LC as proposed developer of the 90-acre riverfront development.

Estes Construction owner Kent Pilcher said he and and Ruhl and Ruhl corporate executive officer Charles Ruhl Jr. founded Kaizen to bring out the best of both companies. He said those strengths will add to The Quarter.

He said Kaizen has done a number of Quad-Cities jobs in its six years, including renovation of Moline's Velie Plantation and the new apartment-style residence halls at Davenport's St. Ambrose University. Currently, Kaizen is developing and constructing Crow Valley Park and Coventry Place near 53rd Street and Utica Ridge Road, Davenport.

Kaizen's first-phase plans for The Quarter call for a 20,000-square-foot restaurant, 5,000 square feet of retail space and a 30,000-square-foot office complex, with a similar addition planned for the future.

One feature that captured the council's attention was a working lighthouse that will be placed at the foot of the restaurant. It will be visible from Interstate 74.

``People driving across the bridge will think about the development without thinking it's miles away,'' Mr. Pilcher said.

Other plans include construction of 54 loft-style condominiums, ranging from $200,000 to $250,000 each, and a private 54-boat-slip marina.

The first phase also calls for East Moline to build a new parkway from the intersection of 7th Street and 12th Avenue into the Quarter. The road will provide access to the development's main areas -- Gateway Park, The Depot District, Beacon Harbor and The River Connection.

The city would build a public marina, which would serve as a new stop for the Channel Cat water taxi and other boats. Water, sanitary-sewer lines and storm drains would be extended into the development.

Mr. Reynolds said cooperation between REDEEM and the city has contributed to the development's success.

``~~You, the city council have supported this development from its inception, and we very much appreciate your support,'' he said. ``As you will hear, and see, we have held up our end of the agreement.''

REDEEM has to acquire the land for The Quarter from the John Deere Harvester Works and resolve environmental issues at the site.

Although the agreement between Kaizen, East Moline and REDEEM is ``still a work in progress'' according to Randy Starbuck, developmental-services director, no major changes are anticipated.

``There's still a lot of work to do,'' said Ald. John Thodos, I-2nd Ward. ``We're not completely done yet, but we are getting closer.''

The council was pleased The Quarter would be funded through a tax-increment financing (TIF) district within the development, instead of by tax increases.

Since Monday's presentation required no vote, the council has two weeks to review the agreement before its Oct. 5 committee-of-the-whole meeting. The earliest the plan could be adopted is Oct. 19. Construction is expected to begin next spring.

``We are a step closer to reality,'' Mayor Bill Ward said. ``This is a dream come true.''

In other action, the council held a public hearing on issuing $2.95 million in bonds for the 7th Street reconstruction project. The bonds -- which will come from the city's motor-fuel tax and water-and-sewer funds -- will finance the project.

Although the street will be widened to four lanes from 17th to 26th avenues, restricted parking will be allowed between 21st and 25th avenues during non-peak traffic.

McClure Engineering representative Larry Johnson said space will be allowed at intersections for traffic to use the right lane to pass vehicles turning left.

The council approved the improvements, which include new water and sewer lines. Ald. Doug Strand, I-4th Ward, opposed the four-lane expansion but not the general project.

Mr. Johnson said the city will acquire right-of-way and easements on the property this winter. The project is expected to go for bidding in early 1999, with construction to begin next spring.

The council will finalize the bonds Oct. 19.

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