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Newbury Living has been awarded a federal HOME loan that advances the West Des Moines-based developer's plans to renovate the Davenport School District's administration center into a new housing and mixed-use project. 

The Iowa Finance Authority board announced Wednesday that the project at 1606 Brady St., or what is known as the district's Achievement Services Center, was awarded $840,000 through the federal HOME program. It was among a total of $2.6 million in low-interest loans awarded across the state to expand rental opportunities. 

"We're thrilled, it was a competitive process," said Frank Levy, president of Newbury Living. "This is a crucial component of the project." 

He called the loan "part of a multi-layered financing (package)" for the $6.5 million project. "The HOME award allows the project to provide workforce housing as well as a limited number of low and moderate income units," he said. 

Newbury Living plans to purchase the building for $950,000 from the Davenport School District, which will relocate its district headquarters. With the HOME funds awarded, he said the sale's closing now is pending the completion of an environmental review. "We're hoping to close this summer." 

District spokeswoman Dawn Saul said the school district plans to move during the first two weeks of July across the street into the second and third floors of the former J.B. Young School. The ground floor is occupied by the new J.B. Young Opportunity Center. 

Newbury Living plans to convert the circa-1960s bank building into 38 one-bedroom and studio units with retail or commercial uses on the main floor.

Levy said he hopes to find a restaurant or bar to occupy the ground floor of the former Brenton Bank building. "It still has the original vault and that might be a gaming studio or a private wine tasting room is we have a fine dining restaurant," he added.  

The building is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and will also use state and federal tax credits, Workforce Housing Investment Tax Credits and private financing to cover the project, Levy said. 

Renovations will be completed by Build-To-Suit, a Quad-City construction firm. The architect is ASK Studio, Des Moines. 

"It's a very handsome building. It was built to bank standards," he said, adding its size and rectangular shape make it conducive for rehabbing into housing.  

The building was erected in 1966 for the First National Bank of Davenport. Due to the historic designation, Levy said the exterior will remain much the same and only the inside will be renovated. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development allocates HOME funds annually to states and municipalities with the goal of increasing rental and homeownership opportunities.  Levy said the project also has applied for HOME funds through the City of Davenport.

The new housing project, which is in the heart of Davenport's Main Street District, Hilltop Campus Village, "will be a more affordable pricepoint" than Newbury Living's other Quad-City projects. 

It will mark the company's fifth housing project locally. Construction is underway on a $22 million lofts project, known as The Bridges, in downtown Bettendorf. Its other projects include 501 Brady apartments in downtown Davenport; Cumberland House, a low income senior housing at 2365 Tech Drive, Bettendorf; and Fairmount Pines, a family housing project at 4205 N. Fairmount, Davenport, which it partnered with the Ecumenical Housing Development Group. 

Scott Tunnicliff, Hilltop's director, said Newbury's Hilltop project "is a game-changer for us" because the majority of the complex will be market-rate units. "This is really the best kind of infill and Davenport needs infill," he said. 

He expects a mix of residents from the nearby Palmer College of Chiropractic and St. Ambrose University as well as people who work in the neighborhood. "Really anybody who wants to be close to a grocery store, restaurants, a bank and have access to parking. It's a really, really good creative use." 

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