Furniture is being removed from the former and now-vacant Howard Johnson's Hotel at the eastern edge of downtown Davenport, the owner said, to get ready for renovations of either a new hotel or a makeover into an assisted living center.
Umar Paracha bought the hotel, now called Riverside Plaza, in 2008 for $4.65 million and was planning to overhaul the six-story building. But economic changes prompted his bank to withdraw a promise for funding, he said.
He has been looking to sell the property or find new funding to renovate it.
"I'm getting a lot of interest, but the economy is still not good," he said Wednesday. "It could stay a hotel, or it could be used for assisted living."
A large truck was in the hotel parking lot this week as workers loaded it with furnishings.
Alderman Gene Meeker, At-Large, has been trying to help market the property to a new buyer and said he presumed the beds, chairs and other hotel-room items were being sold.
"It's possible the bank is doing it," he said. "I check with the bank about things more than I do the owner. By now the building is probably their asset - or their liability, depending on how you look at it."
But Paracha said there is more positive news in the recent activity.
"We're just clearing out, little by little, so we can start working," he said. "It will be ready then."
Meeker said he remains hopeful a new owner will be found, despite a sluggish pace for interest in the 45-year-old hotel.
"We've had a few inquiries - a few times we've kicked the tires - but it doesn't seem to get anywhere," he said. "You'd think somebody would take a look at it, given its views of the river and all the people coming to the Arsenal, but hotel funding is tough right now.
"I think the city would be a willing partner in something down there, but we're not at that point."
The alderman has said the city council would be likely to support incentives for redeveloping what originally was built as the Clayton House, 227 LeClaire Street.
The hotel was shuttered in May after a local pair that was leasing it failed to make $35,000 monthly payments.