Alma Gaul

Marycrest project may finish by fall

Chris Ales told a reporter last year that it was his business goal to construct and operate 700 senior citizen apartments within an hour's range of the Quad-Cities before he'd take a breather.

He's about ready for a breath.

Within this year, Ales and his companies expect to:

n Begin historic rehabilitation of the Villa de Chantal in Rock Island into 60 market-rate apartments;

n Begin historic rehabilitation of the former Welch Hotel in Muscatine, Iowa, into 20 income-restricted apartments;

n Begin construction of Meadow Crest Phase II, into 36 new, income-restricted apartments at 2501 W. 53rd St., Davenport.

n Continue historic rehabilitation of the Hurst Apartment building in Maquoketa, Iowa, into 22 apartments;

n Finish historic rehabilitation of the former Marycrest College campus in Davenport for a total of 160 units there, a mix of income-restricted and market-rate units, both the independent and assisted-living types.

When those projects are finished, Ales will be at 513 units.

"I'm very happy with the way the properties are running," he said while leading a tour of the sprawling Villa de Chantal property.

To date, the $20 million Marycrest project has been Ales' most ambitious. He bought the 20-plus-acre campus with 10 major buildings in the fall of 2002 and expects to be finished in late fall of this year.

Here is a building-by-building update of the west Davenport campus:

1. Upham Hall, the latest building to be completed, offers 21 independent living apartments that will be rented with no income restrictions. The apartments range from 710 to 1,872 square feet, two with fireplaces. Upham is 40 percent occupied.

2. Rohlam Hall, 32 income-restricted apartments, full.

3. Lawlor Hall, 18 income-restricted apartments, full.

4. West Hall, seven market-rate apartments, full.

5. Petersen Commons, 51 income-restricted, assisted-living apartments, under construction, with the opening expected about May 1.

6. Walsh Hall, 31 income-restricted apartments under construction, with the opening expected in late summer.

7. Cone Library, with a beauty salon, meditation room, activity center and Visiting Nurses office. In addition, Ales' Signature Management Co. is negotiating with Palmer College of Chiropractic for a health clinic as well as for other commercial uses.

8. The former nurses building contains the offices of Signature Management, one of four companies that handles various aspects of his real estate interests.

9. Petersen mansion, a community center with the upper floor opening as a bed-and-breakfast for guests of residents.

10. Marycrest Activities Center, a privately leased sports center.

— Alma Gaul