The Davenport City Council will hold a study session next week after the developer of a mixed-use project in the former Wonder Bread building asked Wednesday for reconsideration of a grant application it was omitted from.
The council agreed to meet Monday to hear from the developers of all four projects that were considered for Community Development Block Grants Disaster Relief funding from the state. The funding is available to counties that were affected by 2008 flooding.
Alderman Gene Meeker, at large, who chairs the council’s community development committee called the decision involving four worthy projects “a dilemma.”
The city is allowed to submit two projects, and staff from the Community Planning and Economic Development Department recommended the 37-unit 5th Street Lofts, that would be at 500 Iowa St., and the 45-unit Halligan Coffee Building, at 402 E. 4th St.
Developer Dan Dolan asked the city to reconsider. His project, the Continental Lofts, with 50 units and retail space, would be located in the Wonder Bread building at 1034 E. River Drive.
Another project, Sheridan Heights, in the 5000 block of Sheridan Street near Welcome Way, with 48 units also was considered.
Dolan and planner Mark Brockway, of Bettendorf, argued that the importance of the Wonder Bread building on East River Drive and its potential as a signature project for the city make it deserving of reconsideration.
“We think it will have a great impact on the city,” Brockway said. “I think the significance of this is worth your attention.”
Dolan assured the council that although his experience is in residential construction, he was able to do the mixed-used multi-family project.
Alderman Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, agreed the project and the staff rankings were worth considering, starting the discussion toward a study session. Others didn’t think the presentations were needed.
“My recommendation is to go with what staff recommended,” Alderman Jason Gordon, at large, said. “This is a great project I’d like to see happen, but I don’t want to second-guess staff.”
Alderman Barney Barnhill, 7th Ward, disagreed.
“I don’t think this is the first time we’ve challenged staff,” he said. “I don’t see why we don’t bring the other developers down to meet with us.”
Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, recalled the Wonder Bread building was proposed as a data center in late 2011, but problems with the bankruptcy of Interstate Bakeries Corp., Wonder Bread’s parent company, sank that project. He sees a similar, high-tech use as more appropriate.