Construction may have begun later than originally planned, but significant progress is being made at one of downtown Bettendorf's major projects.

The Bridges loft apartments, situated at the former Twin Bridges Motor Inn, will have the full framing for its first building completed by the end of March, paving the way for interior work to begin.

"We're fully expecting to have the building up and starting ready to roof by the first of April," construction manager Steve Pennock said. "When the roof is on in April, we'll follow up with windows and start the siding in May. The big goal is to get through this month or the next two months of framing and that gives us opportunities to 100 percent get started inside the building."

The $22 million project, which received tax-increment financing from the city of Bettendorf, includes two five-story apartment buildings plus retail space.

The first economic development agreement was approved in December 2016 and called for construction to begin within 120 days.

A few extensions were approved, which ended up pushing back the start to September 2017, Newbury Living president Frank Levy said.

"We took a fairly long time getting the financing closed so we started significantly later than what we expected," Levy said. "We will be delivering the first building in November or December. For apartments, you'd ideally like to open in the summer or fall because people tend to move in the warmer months."

Despite the delay, the project is expected to be completed well within the terms of the development. All of the walls for the units are constructed ahead of time, allowing for greater control of the project.

"Think about construction in Iowa," Levy said. "They build those wall panels indoor so you have control over the timing, weather, and delivery and they assemble them onsite."

In the first building, Levy said there already have already 23 reservations for the 76 units. Most of those reservations were for the larger units and initial data showed that those reservations were made by older clientele, indicating a lifestyle change.

Levy said work on the second building has begun and expected most of the work to be completed by the end of 2018.

While the loft apartment complex has seen significant progress, big news has also come from nearby properties.

"(Built to Suit Inc. president) Kevin (Koellner) has acquired most of this block here and hasn't finalized his plans, but it will be some type of mixed-use project with some retail," Levy said. "That's just one more thing that excites me."

The Iowa Department of Transportation has also agreed to convey the parcel currently being used to stage the I-74 bridge project to the city of Bettendorf.

City officials have spoken about creating a small plaza of sorts that would be a lead-in to the trail system while also accommodating additional parking needs.

Levy said that he wanted the retail space in the apartment complex to house a bar or coffee shop, which would help further that goal.

"If I have a coffee shop here, it's 2,000 square-feet and with typical ratios, you're going to want 10 spaces per 1,000 square feet," Levy said. "It would take parking I need for my apartments."

Although there are still questions what will fill the retail space, there's a lot to look forward to in the upcoming months.

"The most interesting part of our project is what's happening with projects nearby," Levy said.

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