A downtown Davenport building steeped in history is about to enter a new chapter as loft housing.
In a real estate deal that closed Tuesday, developers Manoj and Manisha Baheti purchased the Hibernian Hall from Ron Bellomy, the longtime owner and operator of Riverbend Antiques. Bellomy's 43-year-old antique business, which occupies much of the collection of buildings, will close. The husband and wife team purchased six adjacent buildings, including a house, all in the 400 block of Brady Street. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Bellomy, who plans to retire, was unavailable for comment.
"We've been looking for a historic building in the downtown area," Manoj Baheti said. His wife is in charge of the redevelopment project being led by one of their companies, Y&J Properties. He runs YASH Technologies, a global IT company with U.S. headquarters in East Moline.
The developers plan to create 17 lofts and two storefronts in the buildings, which trace their historic to a church and later Hibernian Hall. The hall, which is on the National Historic Registry, was constructed in 1889 as the meeting place for the Davenport chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic fraternal society.
Describing the project as "fun and exciting," Manisha Baheti said such projects "are more interesting when you're talking about historic buildings."
Joe Erenberger, who has partnered with the couple on other Davenport projects, is acting as a consultant for them on this project. He said Construct Services has been hired as the contractor to renovate the 25,000 square feet of space, not including the house, into loft housing.
He added that they hope to retain the two current tenants — Kush Hair Salon and the Davenport School of Yoga — in the storefront space, which will be renovated. But to date, they only have a new signed lease with the salon.
"This is going to be the first block in downtown to be completely renovated," Erenberger said. Other projects on the block include the Forrest Block lofts developed by Amrit and Amy Gill's Restoration St. Louis, and the former Democrat newspaper building, which is being renovated into lofts by Bettendorf developers Tim Baldwin and Pat Sherman.
For the Bahetis, the Hibernian Hall is their third major historic redevelopment in downtown Davenport. They are the developers behind the former Peterson Paper Co. building at East 2nd Street and Pershing Avenue, which was renovated into 23 units of loft housing. In addition, they are in the process of creating 45 units at the former Halligan Coffee Building at 402 E. 4th St.
Manoj Baheti said the Hibernian Hall project likely will be completed within a year and ahead of the Halligan Coffee space because of its size.