Consultants for Davenport’s RiverVision update recommend downsizing the multi-use project proposed for the site of the former Dock restaurant.

David Gamble, of Gamble Associates, said Thursday that any building at the foot of Perry Street should be 30,000 to 40,000 square feet, half of the current proposal. He also said that came with the warning that buildings shouldn’t be constructed in flood plains.

He recommended not building in the flood plain and moving the building away from the foot of Perry Street. Instead, he said Perry and Pershing Avenue should terminate at the river with some type of feature.

The recommendations came at a pair of meetings Thursday at the Hotel Blackhawk to discuss an update to the 10-year-old RiverVision plan.

Gamble also recommended some development opportunities immediately north of River Drive rather than the Dock’s current location.

“If there is no building there, it isn’t anti-development, it is thinking there is a better place to develop,” Gamble said. He is working with Hargreaves Associates on the RiverVision update.

Developer Todd Raufeisen wants to build a $24 million, four-story building that is built above the flood plain. Gamble, an architect and planner, said the building’s height should be no more than three stories. The city council approved an economic development agreement with a $7 million tax increment financing plan in October.

Raufeisen wasn’t troubled by the recommendation. The scope of the project grew as a way of lessening the city’s cost, he said. He would be willing to work with the city.

“If you look at what they are recommending, it is a three-story project like we originally proposed,” he said. “It is all dollars and cents. The building is sized to where it has less effect on taxpayers.”

The city’s Levee Improvement Commission fought the project since Raufeisen unveiled drawings of the four-story building last summer. Representatives of the commission met with RiverVision consultants ahead of the meeting to say they oppose the size of the project and getting rid of an access ramp. They expressed a preference for green space.

Commissioner Karl Rhomberg, who has been outspoken in his opposition to the project, was pleased by the consultant’s recommendation.

“I was very impressed with the statement that no development should be built in the flood plain,” said Rhomberg, who attended the noon meeting. “That said, even if it goes forward, the scale of the project proposed by Hargreaves is more appropriate.”

Consultants also presented options for the 10 acres roughly between the Rhythm City Casino and the decrepit Dock building that ranged from open green space to water cannons to a sculpture garden and pier among other ideas.

They presented the ideas with the idea that the Dock and the casino wouldn’t be in their current locations.

“Strip that away, and you have a blank slate,” said Kirt Rieder of Hargreaves Associates.

Consultants came out of the meeting with a broad recommendation for the riverfront. Some wanted appropriately sized economic development, while others wanted only green space and yet others landed in the middle.

Consultants also told participants that looking at the downtown, a 60-block area, as part of the study, that the prevailing dining options were bars and pubs or casual dining, with no upscale options and little downtown or riverfront options.

(10) comments

daves

I agree - with keeping development out of the flood prone areas... if developers want to build new in those areas they should pay taxes and sign an agreement that if it flood they are 100% on there own - no city, state or federal $'s to help them "recover".

Alloren

One thing to consider about the proposed building is that it will not provide property tax revenue. It is predicated on using TIF money. That means it will not pay property taxes on the property's value increase. The city will receive no increase in property taxes for many years if ever, the city will,however, provide all the amenities, police and fire protection, flood protection, street upkeep, sewer lines. So it's increased outlay with no increase in revenue. The benefit of cared for green spaces along D'port's riverfront is that it provides a community venue for numerous activities in a unique setting. It's Davenport, we have a river, let's celebrate and enjoy it.

Had it

A couple more thoughts...1. there will be plenty of green space with the new park on the other side of the bridge and 2. if someone has this kind of money to invest on this project, wouldn't we all think they have the common sense to plan accordingly?? ie. they don't need some committee to tell them not to build in a flood plain...the design more than likely takes flooding into consideration..and 3. what is OUR vision?? It's fine for an opinion but must we consider that opinion as end all?

Alloren

It is a flood plain, anything built on a flood plain will be flooded, if you elevate it above the projected flood level it becomes an island during the flood. Why not build where it doesn't flood. The reason for great expanses of green space in a flood plain is that it doesn't require huge amounts of resources to protect during the flood nor is it expensive to restore the area after a flood. The reason the Dock sits there abandoned and derelict is that it was frequently flooded, anything built there will be flooded, it is a flood plain.

HROTer

I wonder how much money the consulting firm is investing? Oh wait, none.

Also, I believe they are out of San Francisco and Boston. I seem to recall quite a bit of large-scale waterfront development in both those cities that is quite nice, brings in a lot of revenue, and attracts visitors. Their message to Davenport, though? THINK SMALL. No thanks, we've had enough of that.

EPIC
EPIC

Last year there was talk of building a bigger Lock and Dam, would that affect this piece of property? Or was this a different lock and dam that they were talking about?

I can' reiterate this enough, Davenport river front has so much diversified history, please play that up, it drives tourism, creates cottage industries and fills up the hotels and restaurants. There is allot of money in historical preservation that the city and its top preservationists have not tapped into yet.
NATIONAL history.

Give it a shot, you really have nothing to loose at this point.

EPIC
EPIC

And I really wish the QCTimes would correct all my grammatical errors.
lol

ttdad

I agree with Had It 100%.

Had it

i'm confused..does green space create a tax revenue? why on earth would these city officials bring in consultant firms to nullify a multmillion dollar project and all its tax generating potential? i've read in past posts/articles that we (iowa alone/qc area) have 9 miles of riverfront...if a developer wants to invest his multimillions on riverfront development, why are we all setting up roadblocks?

ttdad

Moving here from the Phila area, We were really surprised at the lack of restaurants and attractions on the water front. Basically for dining you have the Boathouse and nothing else. Same for walkways lined with shops and vendors. So much potential too.

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