After two years of heated discussions, a related veto and multiple votes, Davenport City Council members on Wednesday unanimously approved lease and parking agreements for the riverfront Dock project.
The approval comes despite a recommendation by the Davenport Levee Improvement Commission to deny the lease agreement.
Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba who vetoed the council-approved development agreement with developer Todd Raufeisen said after the meeting that he is not intending to use his veto authority on the lease agreement.
“My veto of the development agreement was overridden 10-0, and a veto of the lease agreement would be, too,” Gluba said. “I still disagree with the decision. I still think a smaller building owned by the city and leased out is the way to go. Public park property should remain in the domain of the public.”
Speaking after the meeting, Raufeisen said that beyond the 14-day waiting period, he is ready to go.
"Once we have a signed lease, we'll wrap up financing," Raufeisen said. "We've been fully engaged with tenants and in talking with the restaurants on the first floor.”
He expects the restaurants’ drawings to be done the week of Sept. 8. He added that it will take three months for the detailed architectural drawings to be done for the agreed-upon 41,000 square-foot building.
"We'll bring everything to the level of detail that a lot of people claimed they knew but didn't know," Raufeisen said.
Once the drawings are done, the building then will go to bid, he said. When completed, 68 percent of the building will be restaurant and entertainment space, and 32 percent will be office space, he added.
During Wednesday’s meeting, aldermen voted to take the leasing and parking agreements off the consent agenda so there could be more public comment. Ten people spoke against the project, including two members of the Davenport Levee Improvement Commission.
Among them was new Levee Commissioner Anne Corbi who told the council that while she supports the city's RiverVision plan, she said the Dock development, "Is too big and too close to the water."
In response to a number of comments about the size of the building, Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward, said that he has, "Never seen so much disinformation in my life come out of this project."
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The building is 41,000 square-feet, and the city is providing a platform on which the project is to be built, he said. It also fits flood plain management criteria.
Aldermen voted 8-2 against the lease payments going to the Levee Commission, with Boom and Ray Ambrose, 4th Ward, being the two yes votes.
Alderman Kerri Tompkins, 8th Ward, said that for the project to take two years to get to this point sends a bad message to future developers, which could cost the city economic opportunities. "Our goal is to grow," she said.
Raufeisen said that the two-year process has been, "very unique, and I'll leave it at that."
However, he remains excited for the project. “I think it’s going to be way cool," Raufeisen said. "A lot of people want the Dock back, and we’re excited to bring it back."