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Filling Greatest Grains space is 14,000-square-foot challenge
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Filling Greatest Grains space is 14,000-square-foot challenge

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No doubt about it, the closing in July of Greatest Grains health food store at 1600 Harrison St. was a blow to the Hilltop Campus Village.

The business had been a mainstay for 40 years, and its closure leaves a big hole — 14,400 square feet.

In marketing the property, the listing agent is looking for either a single owner who would use the entire space or two to three really good potential tenants for whom investors could be found, Scott Tunnicliff, Village director, said.

Many possible uses have been bandied about: a health deli; another grocery store, either mainstream or specialty; a bike shop; a cluster of art galleries/ consignment businesses; and a combination restaurant/craft brewery.

At present, craft breweries are either in Quad-City downtowns or in the northern reaches of Davenport and Bettendorf, Tunnicliff said. "There's nothing in the west or south or center," he said.

Factors in the location's favor include that it has 50 spaces of parking, is highly visible and is a "known" location because Greatest Grains was there for so long, Tunnicliff said.

"Nothing's a bad idea," he said. "Something was there before Greatest Grains and something will be there after."

In addition to filling that space, the other big Hilltop challenge remains the speed of traffic on Brady and Harrison streets that reduces the friendly, walkable feel of the neighborhood, Tunnicliff said.

"We don't want people to hesitate to cross the street."

As for improvements to the area in the past 10 years, Tunnicliff has a list at the ready. It includes:

• Construction of the 60-unit Harrison Lofts apartments by Sherman and Associates, Minneapolis.

• Construction of an urban garden at Scott and 15th streets, a partnership between Genesis Health System and PUNCH, or People Uniting Neighbors and Churches.

• Installation of LED streetlights on Harrison, Brady, 6th, 7th and 12th streets, with financial help from the Regional Development Authority and Scott County Regional Authority.

• Opening of the R. Richard Bittner Athletic and Recreation Center on Palmer College of Chiropractic Campus.

• Reconstruction of Big Daddy's bar into The Brewed Book book store and coffee shop.

• Addition of four apartments to the second story of Winnie's Wishes building by owner Andrew Wold.

• Opening of Zeke's Island Cafe, a new destination point in a former bar.

• Installation of new windows in St. Ambrose University's Ambrose Hall. Also, construction of a new dormitory at the northeast corner of campus and a new welcome center redeveloped in what used to be a vision center.

• Building of a new Aldi's grocery store with subsequent expansion on Brady Street, replacing a former store.

• Improvement to the facade, interior and second floor apartments at Katie McButts saloon.

• Construction of Ascentra Credit Union and adjacent Sanitary Suds between Main and Brady.

• Placement of three buildings on the National Register of Historic Places: Brenton Lofts, the Priester Building and KWQC-TV6.

• Renovation of former American Institute of Commerce building into Tooth Towers Dental Design.

• Expansion of Redband Coffee Co. into a building on Brady Street.

• Renovation of 1028 Harrison, a historic (but vacant) home across from Central High School that was converted to apartments from single-family use.

• Occupancy of two long-vacant buildings on Brady, the former Free's Photography and Celebrity Wigs.

• Facelift to Townsquare Media; a return to the Rock 'n Roll mansion, with gargoyle sculptures.

• Addition of parking along west Harrison Street after an absence of 45 years.

• Construction of Davenport Central High School auditorium and natatorium

• Occupancy of long-vacant buildings on Harrison Street; Hilltop Grocery and Spirits, and D'Allen Beauty Boutique.

• Conversion of J.B.Young Intermediate School into the J.B. Young Opportunity Center, with tenants including (but not limited to) Prostrart, Art Legacy League and the River Bend Foodbank.

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