When the last tenant moved out of the landmark, 10-story Mississippi Hotel apartment building in downtown Davenport in 2004, the former luxury accommodations had lost much of their shine.

But now, after an $8.5 million renovation that has created 56 new apartments, the place is shining once again, and a major downtown redevelopment project is nearing completion, Jay Trevor, of J&T Development LLC, Chicago, said.

Since April 2, a total of 21 of the apartments have been snapped up by young professionals, including 17 members of the Quad-City Swing baseball team, Trevor said.

The Mississippi Lofts apartments take up roughly half of what was the original 1931 hotel; the other half has been consumed by the enlarging of the Adler Theatre, a separate multi-million dollar project overseen by the nonprofit RiverCenter for the Performing Arts. The Adler reopened in November.

The apartments are finished, but some work remains, including restoration of the marquee sign that projects over the sidewalk — a $35,000 job in itself — and a branch office for J&T Development on the corner of 3rd and Brady streets, Trevor said.

Of the 56 apartments, 42 are one-bedroom, income-restricted; 10 are two-bedroom, income-restricted; and four are two-bedroom market rate, DeA Rottman, loft manager, said. To qualify under income restriction, a single person can make up to $25,260 annually. A two-person household can make $28,860, and a three-person household can make $32,460.

All apartments come with refrigerators with ice makers, microwaves, stoves, dishwashers, garbage disposals, mini blinds on all the windows, wood laminate floors, washers and dryers in the bathrooms and French doors between the living area and master bedrooms.

All are outside units, facing either 3rd or Brady streets or, in some cases, both streets.

The apartments are decorated/furnished in two distinct styles — country, with oak laminate floors, oak kitchen cabinets and country tan walls; or contemporary, with walnut laminate floors, white kitchen cabinets and smoky blue walls, Rottman explained.

The building has all new plumbing, electrical and heating and air-conditioning systems.

Initial plans for a restaurant, mini-theater and exercise room on the building’s first floor were scrapped, but there is a community room fronting 3rd Street that features a 50-inch television, a coffee bar, wireless Internet access, an electric fireplace and various seating areas.

“We decided to put our money in amenities like the washers and dryers and the (laminate) floors,” Trevor said. “We thought that would make more sense.”

The lobby area evokes the grandeur of the hotel’s past life, with its multi-colored terrazzo floors, Art Deco-style elevator doors and walnut and teak wood paneling. What was once the check-in desk is being made into the loft manager’s office.

Rottman explains that while the lobby shines today, it was severely tattered when J&T Development took over. “It was not well-kept; it was let go,” she said. “The building has been through a lot.”

Of the project’s $8.5 million cost, about $4.5 million came from low-income and historic tax credits, Trevor said.

There also was a $600,000 HOME loan from the city of Davenport (federal Housing and Urban Development funds); a $300,000 historic preservation loan from the city of Davenport; a $300,000 loan from the Scott County Housing Council; a $1.5 million loan from an investment bank; $212,000 in enterprise zone benefits and about $800,000 in deferred developer’s fees, Trevor said.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

For rental information about Mississippi Lofts, call DeA Rottman at (563) 326-8887.

The 42 one-bedroom, income-restricted apartments rent for $425 to $525 per month depending on size.

The 10 two-bedroom, income-restricted apartments rent for $625 per month.

The four two-bedroom, market-rate apartments rent for $755.

To qualify under income restriction, a single person can make up to $25,260 annually. A two-person household can make $28,860, and a three-person household can make $32,460.

Parking is available at the ramp that serves the RiverCenter.

Building’s history

The building housing the Mississippi Hotel and the former RKO Orpheum Theater — now the Adler Theatre — opened in November 1931 on the northeast corner of Third and Brady streets.

It was designed by the architectural firm of A.S. Graven Inc., Chicago, and built by the George M. Bechtel Co., Davenport.

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The exterior of the hotel is a mixture of granite, brick and terra cotta, wrapping around the theater in an “L” shape.

The hotel had 200 rooms for guests and 50 apartments, ranging from one- to four-room suites, and there were businesses on the first floor fronting Brady and 3rd streets.

Through the years the businesses included a coffee shop, a clothier, Mel Foster Co. offices, a floral shop and a beauty salon.

In time, the hotel became solely apartments.

In 2004, the city of Davenport bought the hotel for $739,000 from the Verid Corp. so that the Adler could be renovated, expanding into space that was the hotel, Bruce Berger, housing rehabilitation program manager for the city of Davenport, said.

At that time the city wasn’t sure what it was going to do with the apartment space that the Adler didn’t need. “It was a leap of faith,” Berger said.

The city asked for development proposals, and J&T Development, then of Overland Park, Kan., was one of two companies that came forward, Berger said. The other was MetroPlains Development, a St. Paul, Minn., company that now is developing housing in the former Salvation Army building on River Drive, he said.

The city has been “very pleased” with the Mississippi Lofts project, Berger said.

The Adler reopened in November 2006 after a $9 million renovation that included an extended stage, a new loading dock, new and expanded dressing rooms and up-to-date sound system.

Those renovations allow the Adler to bring in a wider array of Broadway shows and concerts that have gotten increasingly larger over the years.

The Adler work was among the last elements of the $113.5 million River Renaissance downtown revitalization effort.

Alma Gaul can be contacted at (563) 383-2324 or agaul@qctimes.com. Comment on this story at www.qctimes.com.