In less than a decade, more than $88 million in private investment has been poured into the Hilltop Campus Village in Davenport. And even with several major construction projects ongoing in the area, Director Scott Tunnicliff said he’s not looking to stop anytime soon.
Hilltop, which includes St. Ambrose University and Palmer College of Chiropractic, was recognized last year for reaching $50 million in private investment. Tunnicliff announced Thursday at the village’s annual meeting, the group has hit the $88 million mark of new investment, and he set the goal of reaching the $100 million milestone in the next couple of years.
“Quite clearly it’s been a year of major construction,” Tunnicliff said. “There’s been lots of large-scale construction. We’re not going to pretend to be any more than a slight incremental part of that here at Hilltop, but we’ve certainly been promoting it. The more people see, the more amenities there are in the area, the more likely they’ll be coming here to shop, open a business, look at the housing available and do some urban revitalization.”
Members of the Hilltop Campus Village, including realtors, school administrators, business owners and residents, met at the J.B. Young Opportunity Center to celebrate the past year and set goals for the future.
Local colleges and Davenport Schools have driven the largest construction projects in the past year, Tunnicliff said. He highlighted Palmer College’s planned $50 million in campus improvements, such as the $15 million R. Richard Bittner Athletic and Recreation Center.
“A lot of these things are opening up and promoting Palmer,” he said. “Palmer had for many years been kind of enclosed. And I think what they’re doing with retaining walls on Main Street and construction of the R. Richard Bittner Center is showcasing it’s a part of the Hilltop and the community.”
He also celebrated the opening of St. Ambrose University’s roughly $21 million Wellness and Recreation Center, the conversion of the former J.B. Young school into a space for non-profits and administrative offices, plus Central High School’s new auditorium and pool.
The village also spotlighted businesses that have opened in the past year, such as The Brewed Book, 1524 N. Harrison St., where owners are working to reconstruct the back half of the store and coffee shop.
Jim Romine, owner of Upper Level Antiques, provided an update on his shop’s move to 1205 Brady St., after being located on 2nd Street for around 25 years. The owners are currently redesigning the building’s aesthetics to better accommodate its stock of antique furniture, said Romine, who expects to reopen the business sometime in the next year.
This year, Tunnicliff said a major focus is promoting Hilltop. District banners are popping up around Harrison Street, he said, and a welcome sign is being designed to be placed in the 500 block of Brady Street.
The group is using a market analysis and surveys to explore the area's needs.
"We've identified attitudes and needs, and we always ask people what they'd like to see in Hilltop," he said. "Those are questions that need to be asked all the time because trends will always be changing."
In the coming years, Tunnicliff expects the Hilltop Campus Village to create a master plan, outlining goals for the village's entire 90 blocks. He also said the group may set stricter design standards for developers to follow when building in the area.