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Christiansens help to fill empty space


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The former Farmall plant in Rock Island was transformed into the Quad City Industrial Center by Jim and John Christiansen of Moline. The Christiansens have helped turn many empty Quad-Cities industrial and commercial properties into flourishing businesses again.

Jim and Jon Christiansen of Moline bought their first 1.9 million square feet of empty manufacturing space after a dead-end search for suitable warehousing for their customers.

They bought the former Farmall plant in 1988 from the city of Rock Island for $1 and promised to invest $3 million in the structure during the next 10 years. They renamed it the Quad City Industrial Center and filled it with tenants.

Two years later, they bought the adjacent two-story Farmall office building for another $1 and promised to invest $750,000 in renovations. They renamed it the QCIC Office Building and filled it with tenants.

A couple years later, they bought the vacant Sears' King Plaza store, and later the whole shopping center, for a few dollars, and added their magic touch. They renamed the converted office space Crown Centre and filled it with tenants.

See a pattern here?

Jim's wife says he's finished buying old buildings and properties, and maybe the brothers are. What they've done in a decade has helped stimulate commercial and industrial property development, creating jobs and other improvements throughout the Illinois Quad-Cities.

Moline and Rock Island have certainly profited from the Christiansens' investments. Major eyesores were spruced up and transformed into viable workplaces.

Working under the business name of LRC Developers Inc., the Christiansens leased warehouse and industrial space to such companies as McLaughlin Body, Dohrn Transfer, Jacobson Warehouse and Export Packaging -- which have all grown their operations.

Former tenant Dave Petersen of Petersen Tire Mounting outgrew his QCIC lease and has gone on to invest in the former Caterpillar plant, now known as the River Cities Industrial Center, near Mount Joy, Iowa, and the former John Deere Foundry, now known as the River Bend Industrial Center, in Silvis.

Killir Enterprises housed its catalog sporting-goods operation in the QCIC and now has its own retail store.

Alternatives for the Older Adults, Lutheran Social Services, and a handful of other social-service agencies have bigger, better office quarters.

John Deere Health Care has a consolidated operation in downtown Moline but has kept its Crown Centre offices.

Associated Employers will celebrate its golden anniversary in space once filled with Sears paint cans and tools.

The Christiansens are true ``Friends of the Avenue'' and members of a number of redevelopment groups. So what makes them tick?

The brothers have said they make good business partners because of their different, but complementary, personalities. Jon Christiansen once described himself as a detail person who works well with numbers. He described his brother, Jim, as an extrovert and good at sales. They both majored in marketing in college.

They are Moline natives.

They renovated their space to suit prospective tenants. At each place, they improved the exteriors with new roofs, windows and doors and created a generous amount of green space in the parking lots.

They said they just wanted to bring back a sense of pride and optimism to the Quad-Cities.

``We hate to see young people leave this area because they believe they cannot become successful here,'' Jim Christiansen said.

-- By Rita Pearson (February 9, 1998)

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