Downtown Moline will be putting out the welcome mat for many more visitors after plans were announced Wednesday for two new hotel properties — a 100-room hotel on John Deere Commons and an extended stay above the planned passenger rail station.
The projects were introduced to members of Renew Moline’s Project Management Team, which voted unanimously to advance them to the Moline City Council.
Neil Densmore, the owner of Wisconsin-based Great Lakes Management Group, said he has an option to purchase the former John Deere Collectors Center. He plans to create a 100-room hotel by renovating and expanding the building, which has sat vacant since the center closed in 2008. “It will be either a Hyatt Place or a Hilton product. We’re doing that to keep rates high downtown,” he told the project management team.
On the other end of downtown, The Amin Group of Belmont, Calif., wants to renovate the upper floors of the O’Rourke Building, also known as the Quad-Cities Multi-Modal Facility, into a 75-80 unit extended stay hotel. The Amin Group’s portfolio includes the nearby Radisson on John Deere Commons.
“We’ve been trying to identify a spot for an extended stay in this market for a long time,” said David Yordy, the Radisson’s general manager.
Ray Forsythe, Moline’s planning and development director, and Janet Mathis, Renew Moline’s executive director, said a committee made up of representatives of the city, Renew and MetroLink had chosen The Amin Group as the project’s master developer. The committee was seeking a new developer after Restoration St. Louis withdrew from the project.
“These are great projects for Moline,” Forsythe said of the two hotels. “It’s a testament to all the private and public development that has happened over the past several years.”
Densmore said his project was delayed by the O’Rourke Building’s previous plans, which called for extended stay rooms and a new hotel. “It was going to be a conflict to the O’Rourke project,” he said, recalling how he first approached the city in 2011.
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He indicated that he has a verbal agreement with the John Deere Foundation to purchase the building and is in negotiations for a franchise agreement for the hotel’s flag.
According to Densmore, he initially thought the project would involved demolition of the collectors center until he toured the building and saw its unique architecture and wooden beams. “It’s not a historic building, but we’re going to use as much of the existing in the new building as we can.”
Plans do call for adding four floors to the east end for the hotel rooms and renovating the three-story building on the west end to become suites, he said. “The existing warehouse is where all the public spaces will go. The Collector Center’s lobby will become the hotel’s lobby.”
He hopes to take possession in March.
The Amin Group has yet to make any definite designs, Mathis said, adding that it was one of two developers who were interviewed. The committee received several letters of interest from across the country.