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Developer Ben Estep loves the progressive, aggressive attitude of city officials in Silvis.

Silvis, with a population of about 7,500, continues to rack up gains in many areas, including new housing and commercial development.

After Walmart opened in 2008 on John Deere Expressway at Crosstown Avenue, other commercial development has followed in the area — including an Aldi grocery store, a Family Credit Union and The National Bank.

“We have an excellent working relationship with city officials and business leaders in Silvis, and with them have celebrated the opening and expansion of several businesses recently,” said Tara Barney, chief executive officer of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce. “We’re excited to see new investment in Silvis.”

For Estep, investment in Silvis began when he and partners purchased what was known as the Hynd Farm property on Avenue of the Cities.

Construction began in 2008 on an Ace Hardware store in a new strip mall on the 70-acre former farm. Soon, it was surrounded by retail, housing and other development in an area bordered by 10th Street to the east, Avenue of the Cities to the south, Hospital Road to the west and Illini Drive to the north.

Estep said Phase 1 of residential housing on the Hynd property has been completed. He said 22 homes are occupied. The next phase is coming soon, he added.

He also is involved in construction of a 48-unit market-rate apartment complex behind the retail stores and near a new fire station the city built on land donated by Estep and his partners.

“This wouldn’t have happened without the city of Silvis,” Estep said. “Their city motto is ‘city of progress.’ And their city staff is top shelf.”

The apartment complex, known as Deer Valley Villas, is located near Genesis Medical Center-Illini Campus. It will have 36 two-bedroom units and 12 one-bedroom apartments. Monthly rent are expected to be $700 for a one-bedroom unit and $900 for a two-bedroom unit, with carports and washer-dryers in each unit, Estep said.

In addition to Estep, the complex is being developed by David Barker of Barker Apartments, which has more than 2,000 units in the Iowa Quad-Cities and Iowa City, and other partners.

“If this goes well, they have plans to do a second group of 48 units next door,” City Administrator Jim Grafton said of Deer Valley Villas. “We are pretty happy with what they are doing. There is definitely a need for this type of project, with the hospital close and school next door. There is just a demand for it.”

In early 2009, IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union and Dairy Queen opened in the area just west of the Ace Hardware building.

After Ace Hardware closed and had been vacant for some time, Option Health, a subsidiary of BioScrip, moved into the building in February. BioScrip offers infusion therapy expertise in 46 states, including 40 specialty infusion pharmacies, and 33 nursing locations. The company said it tries to provide alternatives to hospital IV treatments with intravenous medications administered in a patient’s home, nearby clinic or doctor’s office.

Option Health previously was located in Moline. Brandy Fisher, an administrative assistant, said they had outgrown that location.

Nearby is the Doc’s Inn, which opened in March. Owners John and MaryBeth Stopoulos have years of experience in restaurants and food service and currently operate Dr. Gyro’s on 18th Avenue in Rock Island. It features a variety of foods, including American and Greek dishes and sandwiches.

“I would call this Mediterranean fusion,” John Stopoulos said of Doc’s Inn. “It is a little nicer bar food, where we offer many things homemade, including a gourmet burger, daily specials.”

He is pleased with the Silvis location.

“I think the development is moving along nicely. In fact, I am considering expansion. We turn so many people away when it is real busy. It has been good to work with the city. They have been great to us.”

Grafton said the city is happy with the addition of the restaurant.

“John approached Silvis, and I hooked up John and Ben,” Grafton said of Stopoulos and Estep. “He walked into an empty building, and it all worked out. They are very involved the schools. They have had, bands up there. We are really pleased with the location and the business that he is doing.”

In between Doc’s Inn and Option Health is Anytime Fitness, an original tenant of the strip mall, Grafton said. He said a Jimmy John’s restaurant and Metro Lab are also in the strip mall

“And there is more residential in the works,” Grafton said. “What is changing is there is more of a need for rentals. Condos require downpayments, mortgages. Some people prefer renting.”

He said an 18-unit complex was built recently in the area and a 12-unit apartment building is being renovated downtown.

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