Work is progressing to bring a circa-1845 building in downtown LeClaire back to life.
Renovations have been underway to restore the brick building at 229 N. Cody Road and expand it with a new addition that includes a usable rooftop space.
"If it's not the oldest building, it's one of them," said Shawn Langan, the NAI Ruhl Commercial Co. broker representing the new development. "It's been empty a long time and it's nice to see it be restored."
Built in 1845 as a butcher shop, the building is getting a new lease on life from developer Jeff McAfoos and his Dana Development company.
During a recent tour, Langan said the building will be 9,300 square feet, including a main level, lower level and the new rooftop with a patio and 1,600 square feet enclosed in a new addition. The three-floor layout could accommodate one, two or three tenants.
City Administrator Ed Choate said the project fills what had been a vacant spot between the existing row of shops and Mississippi River Distilling Co. "It just continues the development north," he said. "It fills a hole in that side of the downtown development, literally and figuratively."
He estimated it has been nearly 20 years since the building was last used. "It's been vacant between a number of owners for a number of years," Choate said.
McAfoos has owned it since 2006.
"We'd like to find a restaurant or a pub," Langan said, adding that they have had a few interested prospects. All-glass walls will line the new rooftop patio, which be a first in LeClaire and "one of the nicest patios in the Quad-Cities."
Daxon Construction Co., Rock Island, is completing the building's shell, but the final build out will be up to the tenant, Langan said. Andrew Dasso of Streamline Architects, Davenport, is the architect.
"With Sneaky Pete's leaving downtown it's a prime time to put in a new restaurant, a more modern restaurant in LeClaire," Langan said. The longtime restaurant closed in May, 2018.
But the project has presented challenges that led McAfoos to ask the city for a 90-day extension on the construction deadline. At a Dec. 18 LeClaire City Council meeting, he said the project will not meet its Jan. 7 deadline due to delays caused by weather, the building itself and the railroad. To tie into the utilities outside near the adjacent tracks, a railroad representative must be present for the work and had not been available yet.
In an interview, Choate said the project faced a deadline due to the tax increment financing, or TIF, incentives approved by the city. Under the agreement, the developer will be reimbursed up to 85 percent of the taxes paid for five years up to a maximum of $82,989 and agreed to invest at least $800,000 in the property. The improvements also must increase the taxable valuation of the building by not less than $250,000.
The council appeared supportive of the extension, but will not formally vote until its next council meeting, Jan. 7. Council members did suggest the city now receive regular construction updates.
"It's very exciting to see it going up," Council Member Jason Wentland said at the meeting. But he added there was a an agreed deadline. "Obviously some things are out of your control... I look at this as a one-time pass, the 90 days."