As Marriott "turned the key" Wednesday allowing reservations for the new The Current Iowa hotel, the first guest booked a room for the same night.
"We're open for business," developer Amrit Gill said after he and his wife Amy snipped the ceremonial ribbon Wednesday on Restoration St. Louis' latest downtown Davenport project.
"This hotel is unique. It's unique in the entire country," he said, adding "It's the only operating hotel in a Daniel Burnham building and it's in the Quad-Cities."
Located in the former Putnam Building, the longtime office building was the work of the late Burnham, the iconic architect credited with pioneering the skyscraper. The 1910-circa Putnam was his last building. Now as part of Marriott's Autograph Collection, the $33 million Current boasts 78 hotel rooms and 14 luxury apartments (10 of which have been leased).
The Gills, whose first Davenport project was Hotel Blackhawk, gave a shout-out to the contractor Russell and banker Triumph Community Bank as well as the city, their own corporate staff, new hotel staff and their four children, ages 13-22, who all helped their vision be realized.
The Current is part of their $62 million City Square project, which also includes the nearby Parker Building, which has been renovated into Class A office space.
About 200 people packed The Current's lobby and its Viva restaurant, where they got their first glimpses of the hotel dedicated to Midwest artists. "We have over 500 pieces of art from artists well-known and unknown," Amrit Gill said.
The celebration drew city leaders and staff, chamber officials and ambassadors, community and business leaders as well as citizens interested in touring the new hotel.
"This is truly spectacular," said Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, an initiative of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce. "The Current is going to help the Quad-Cities, it's certainly going to help downtown Davenport. Having a hotel of this caliber — on top of the Hotel Blackhawk — certainly raises the bar."
Carter said the new hotel and City Square brings the total new development and investment in downtown to nearly $460 million since 2000.
Calling The Current "a grand slam in the World Series," Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch said, "Restoration St. Louis and Amy and Amrit Gill have been involved in transforming our downtown. We are so happy they are here."
With other projects in the works in downtown and nearby, he said the downtown's momentum is continuing. "Vision without action is just daydreaming. (The Gills) have brought vision to life."
Amrit Gill reminded the well-wishers that their journey in Davenport began 10 years ago when "the city council and mayor (Bill Gluba) recruited us to help redevelop downtown." With two hotels, an office building and three loft housing renovations now complete, he estimated Restoration St. Louis has been responsible for nearly 40 percent of the new development.
During the event, visitors toured two guests rooms, the meeting space and other amenities as well as Up, the hotel's rooftop bar and restaurant, where construction workers still were installing temporary walls on the outdoor patio. New glass walls are expected to be installed next week, Amrit Gill said. But the all-glass restaurant, with the same breath-taking views as the patio, will be serving breakfast today both for hotel guests and the public. Visitors sampled food from The Current's other restaurant Viva, located on the ground floor at Second and Main streets.
Kristin Glass, the chamber's interim CEO, said The Current supports the community's Q2030 campaign to create a Quad-Cities that is cool, creative and connected. "We have to have properties like this to attract and retain talent," she said.
After a tour in which she went "all the way up and down" to the pool and fitness center, Deb Powers, CEO of the nearby River Music Experience, or RME, said "It's amazing ... It's exactly what the Quad-Cities needs."