Russell Construction is proposing plans to build a new corporate headquarters for another Quad-City company on the vacant site adjacent to Western Illinois University's campus on the Moline riverfront.
The proposed plan by the Davenport-based construction firm calls for a modern headquarters on the 8-acre, undeveloped parcel owned by the city of Moline. It was unveiled Tuesday to Renew Moline's Project Management Team, or PMT, by Caitlin Russell, the company's project developer.
"The tenant wants to keep quiet for now," she said, declining to identify the client except to say it is an existing Quad-City company with 300 employees. She added the client hopes to break ground in the spring 2018 after completing negotiations with the city. It would move into the building in 2019.
Ray Forsythe, the city's planning and development director, told the PMT board that Russell Construction was the only company to respond to the city's request for proposal for a master developer for the site. He said that under the proposal, the corporate headquarters would occupy the remainder of the former industrial property that is city-owned.
"We had a lot of people call," he said, adding that he suspects that since the state's financial situation has slowed growth of the new Western Illinois campus, other developers may have turned away.
"But the one response we got is really exciting,'' he said. "Our focus has been on keeping downtown diversified. We don't want to be all residential, office or bars. Then, as the economy changes, you're not so reliant on one sector."
Russell said the project, still in the conceptual stage, includes one 60,000-80,000 square-foot building. "It is going to be contemporary and have a lot of amenities for their business, such as a fitness center, cafe, and be pedestrian-friendly. They want it to be something cool and know it's important to their employees."
She added that the client considered other locations across the Quad-Cities before deciding on the Moline site.
"There's a lot of development and growth going on in downtown Moline and it's awesome to see growth on the other side of I-74," Russell said.
According to Forsythe, another headquarters and the influx of 300 workers would benefit the downtown's existing restaurants, bars and retail tenants. "We think this is a great fit," he said. It would join Deere & Co., Kone's North American headquarters, and United Health Care as a major downtown employer.
In addition, he said Russell Construction already is an active developer in downtown Moline with a number of projects underway.
Caitlin Russell said the firm, founded by her father Jim Russell, currently is the contractor on The Element Hotel being developed by The Amin Group. It also is partnering with The Amin Group on the renovation of the former Chase Building into new housing, and is developing the new Overlook Village, a retirement living project in partnership with Dial Cos. and Harrison Street atop the hill that once was home to Moline Public and Lutheran hospitals. Russell Construction also owns the Avadyne Health offices that it built last year on Avenue of the Cities in Moline.
Forsythe said the new proposal differs widely from those of Three Corners Development, the original master developer. The Orland Park, Illinois-based developer had plans for a $100 million mixed-use project, that included student housing, a grocery store, and other retail.
But he said Three Corners and the city could not come to an agreement on a parking deck. "Moline already has three parking decks and the city council couldn't see taking on the responsibility of a fourth parking deck," he said.
The company did build the Mills at Riverbend Commons, a student housing and retail development, as it promised in Phase I, Forsythe added. It still owns adjacent property where it has had plans to build additional housing.