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armored gardens

Armored Gardens, 315 Pershing Ave., opened in downtown Davenport last year.

Thanks to 14 new or expanded businesses created in 2017, downtown Davenport captured more than $1 million in food and beverage sales tax revenue for the first time.

But Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, said the past year has largely set the groundwork for greater investment to come. 

The partnership, a division of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, held its annual meeting Tuesday morning, where Carter said $82 million in projects have been completed in the past year.  

The $1.1 million in sales tax revenue was a more-than-14-percent increase over 2016, and nearly double the revenue collected through food and beverage sales in 2012.

He cited several top investments in the past year, including $33 million to develop the Current Iowa Hotel and City Square building, $32 million to build the Scott Community College Urban Campus and $15 million for the Pershing Hill Lofts. 

And while Carter touted growth over the past year, he also outlined plans to keep the downtown's momentum going. 

Projects to look out for

1. Alternating Currents

Carter prepared Tuesday's crowd for the upcoming Alternating Currents music, comedy and arts festival in late August. The multi-concept festival replaced River Roots Live last year, which Carter said has saved the city money. 

"There will be hundreds of performances that are a result of tons of different partnerships," he said. "All of this relates to our music scene that we have worked so hard to build over the years. I talked about last year how we really need to start recognizing this on a very official level. This is economic development, folks." 

Carter highlighted one of the biggest draws, the band Dr. Dog, which is set to headline the festival Aug. 25. He also added the partnership will work on attracting a new owner for the slated-to-close Daytrotter music venue. 

2. Kahl Building and Capitol Theatre

Over the past few years, Carter said the Downtown Davenport Partnership has largely focused on the east and central districts. But he expects the renovation of the Kahl Building and Capitol Theatre to be a new driving force. 

"Nothing is more important at this point in downtown's history than to make sure the Kahl and Capital Theatre get done," he said. "This will unlock the entire west end." 

Eastern Iowa Community College moved offices out of the buildings, and Restoration St. Louis took over the project. Carter expects a new developer to be announced soon. 

3. New housing

Carter celebrated the development of more housing units in Davenport, but also said, based on projected demand by 2022, the downtown will have a housing deficit of 197 units.

This year, the downtown has nearly 1,400 housing units, and more than 320 are planned or under construction. That includes new apartments and lofts at the Kahl Building, Bucktown Center for the Arts, TAG's expanded mixed-use building and elsewhere.

Even with the rise in rental units, Carter said the group will work on attracting owner-occupied housing in the coming years.

"I can count on two hands how many owner-occupied units we have," he said.

4. Other downtown plans

Carter's other goals include converting 3rd and 4th Streets into two-way thoroughfares, recruiting more office spaces, redesigning the riverfront, attracting a new grocery store and implementing railroad quiet zones. 

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