The Alexander Co. unveiled the fifth and final piece of its downtown Davenport housing puzzle Monday with a ribbon-cutting for the $8.2 million 5th Street Lofts project.
But project development manager Dave Vos did not rule out the possibility of seeking future projects in the city.
Vos, who had overseen at least 100 building restorations for the Madison-Wis.-based Alexander, said Davenport is "one of the best communities I have ever worked with."
"Iowa in general, has been great," he said. "We also have done projects in Des Moines and there is something about the people of Iowa with their can-do attitude."
And because of that relationship, he said the company is interested in additional projects in Davenport although the downtown warehouse area for them is completed.
The 5th Street Lofts, 500 Iowa St., is the 33-unit complex consisting of one-and two-bedroom lofts in the historic warehouse district with market-rate and affordable rental units.
Property manager Andrew Glasscock said the project officially opened a week ago with 23 of 33 units already leased.
Built in 1916, the 5th Street Lofts building originally was the Sieg Iron Co. Building. Over the years, the building served as a warehouse for the storage of lumber and wagon parts, and later a tire storage facility. The building has been transformed into apartments with historic character features such as exposed brick walls, large windows and exposed I-beams and ceilings.
"It is part of the Crescent Lofts Development in the downtown Davenport neighborhood," Glasscock said. "We were the pioneers of downtown Davenport rehab housing of this scale."
Alexander's involvement began in 2005 with the former Crescent Macaroni building that now is Davenport Lofts. Next was Waterloo Mills, also opened in 2006. It was followed by 4th Street Lofts in 2007-2008, and the Kerker Lofts opened in 2012. With the completion of the 5th Street Lofts, there now are about 180 housing units in that area in the five Alexander structures.
Mayor Bill Gluba praised the can-do attitude of everyone involved, including Alexander, the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce and the many city employees who helped get all five loft projects going.
He gave special credit to Alexander for being the catalyst for downtown housing projects. He said that spurred other major efforts to renovate historic buildings into housing units that either are completed or in progress.
"Alexander, they were the early pioneers, and with our city staff, who are very knowledgeable, put the package together," Gluba said. "We are running out of buildings downtown (to develop.) This is the ideal example of the city working with private partners and the chamber to make it happen, working collaboratively to get it done. It is a win-win situation."
"This is part of 300 units downtown under development and over $124 million spent downtown in the next few years," said Kyle Carter, executive director of Downtown Davenport Partnership. "This is but one of the pieces of the big jigsaw puzzle."
"We want people to continue to look at downtown Davenport as the hottest place to live in the area," said Alderman Bill Boom, 3rd Ward.
Vos said the projects have been satisfying.
"I remember rolling out our plans 10 years ago," Vos said.
"It's pretty cool," he said. "People have asked me if once it is on the ground, if that is the best part of the job. But I have said that the best part of the job is once we are working in the building in a certain neighborhood and walking in a building and seeing the hundreds of people at work and seeing it realized. A lot of it is about relationships."