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The former LeClaire Hotel, Moline, is adding another chapter to its history with a Colorado-based property investment and management group as the new owner. 

Now known as the LeClaire Apartments, the building was purchased Feb. 25 by Monarch Investment & Management Group, headquartered in Franktown, Colo. The historic building, located at 421 19th St., was converted into apartments by The Alexander Co. in 1995. Monarch purchased the building from Kimberly Clarke.

Quentin Mege, Monarch's property analyst, said the company owns and operates more than 90 properties in 14 states, stretching from New Mexico to Ohio.

Founded in 1992, the company manages 20,944 apartment units as well as nationally franchised hotel and a ski and snowboard resort, both in Colorado, according to the company's website.

The LeClaire, built in 1922 as a luxury hotel, marks the company's entry into the Quad-City market. It already owns apartments in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids as well as Bloomington, Champaign and Waukegan in Illinois.

"We like the dynamics of downtown Moline and we'll definitely be keeping our eye out for anything else in the Quad-Cities," Mege said, adding that the company's business model is to "manage everything we own and own everything we manage."

Mege declined to disclose the LeClaire's purchase price.

He said historic properties "are not our bread and butter," but Monarch has some properties "with similar stories" and of the same era in Toledo, Ohio, and Little Rock, Ark. Monarch plans to retain the LeClaire's historic feel, especially evident in the lobby and the first few stories of the 15-story building. The building was designated a National Register of Historic Places landmark in 1993.

Monarch's plan to improve tenant amenities, including the fitness center, adding a new business center and, possibly, a dog park. "We'll actively be looking for commercial tenants for the first floor," he said, adding that the location at 19th Street and 5th Avenue should be a draw.

Ray Forsythe, the city of Moline's planning and development director, said the city has met with Monarch and discussed the available commercial space as well as additional parking options. He added that the fact that the company owns and manages its properties "gives it more of a vested investment."

Currently, the LeClaire's only commercial tenant is A-1 Marketing, located in separate building west from the apartments.

Over the next three years, Monarch plans to shift to market-rate units, Mege said. "With the amount of jobs (in downtown) with John Deere and Kone being there, the property will be transitioning out of the affordable component."

He added that no tenants will be forced out, but as affordable housing units open up they will be converted to market rate units. Occupancy is near capacity now, he added.

The majority of the 110 apartments are one and two-bedroom units, with a limited number of three-bedroom units on the 15th floor, the former ballroom. He said the one and two-bedroom units range in rent from $775 to $885 and in size from 775 to 1,150 square feet.  

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