News of a public-private partnership that includes a full-service urban Scott Community College campus, 80 apartments and restoration of the Capitol Theatre is the missing piece to the downtown renovation puzzle, a downtown official says.
Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, called the extensive project between Eastern Iowa Community Colleges and Restoration St. Louis “mind-boggling."
“This is very positive for this community in … the amount of money in construction jobs alone,” Carter said Tuesday. “It’s been in the works for a really long time. It is a win for everyone, and the quality of life.”
Having the Kahl Building completely rejuvenated, he said, “will complete the bookends of 3rd Street.”
Additionally, he said, “We continue to see strong demand” for more housing downtown. “The market will ultimately determine how much. As long as there’s a strong demand, we’ll keep building it.
“We just crossed the 1,000 threshold in units downtown,” he said. Residents are a mix of “young professionals, empty nesters … people that are looking to live a different kind of lifestyle. Some people prefer to walk to most of the things that they do.” The formal borders of the downtown core, he said, are “bridge to bridge from the river to about 6th Street — that’s the loose description of downtown.”
“The Mississippi River front is not exactly small potatoes. It’s a beautiful thing to have on your front porch,” Carter said.
Projects like the Restoration St. Louis partnership are critical to the sustainability of downtown's growth, he said.
To have this announced on the heels of City Square is “a win across the board," he said, with the Kahl Building potentially completely full.
"I can’t stress enough that we’ve got to raise money …encourage people to get behind this and show support.”
The project, he said, reflects on the entire Quad-Cities. “If we want to be taken seriously as a community in the United States, we have to act as that … a community,” Carter said. “It’s indicative of regional success — a population of 400,000 that’s moving forward.”
The renovation of the Capitol is particularly personal to Carter, who had his engagement photos taken there. “It is, in my personal opinion, the most beautiful piece of architecture in the entire region.”
That the community has not been able to enjoy the Capitol for years has been a travesty, and “has bothered me for years,” he said.