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.