The Social Security Administration is moving out of downtown Davenport, meaning the loss of one of the central business district's longest-serving tenants.
The federal government has signed a lease with Davessa Venture LLC to lease 12,000 square feet in a building at 4319 N. Brady St.
The agency intends to leave its office at 131 W. 3rd St., Davenport, later this year, perhaps in November, said Charlie Cook, a spokesman for the General Services Administration, which manages property for the agency.
The Social Security office has been a part of downtown since 1937, just two years after the Social Security Act was signed into law. Most of that time was in the Federal Building on 4th Street.
For the past eight years, it has been at 131 W. 3rd St., site of the old First Federal Savings & Loan.
Davenport Mayor Bill Gluba, who learned about Social Security's planned departure only recently, said Wednesday he wishes the city had been given the chance to try to keep it in the central business district.
"It's certainly a blow to downtown Davenport," he said.
"I think it would be a total inconvenience to senior citizens. Most of the seniors live in the old part of Davenport."
The General Services Administration said its lease was due to expire in 2013, but there have been several problems in the building, including temperature controls, water leaks, air quality, exterior lighting and some safety concerns.
Cook said the office had to close for a day last December, and it shut down early on two other days in December and January as a result.
"We look forward to the new arrangements and believe the location on North Brady will serve the public well," the GSA said in a statement.
The new building last housed the Monkey King Buffet.
A New York-based limited liability company, 3rd ST IA LLC, purchased the West 3rd Street building in 2009, according to county records. And in recent weeks, workers have been removing asbestos from the building.
Parag Mehta, who is one of the three owners, said Wednesday they have gone to considerable expense to try to fix the problems but that the presence of the asbestos had prevented the owners from taking care of the temperature and water problems.
He said he likely will approach downtown representatives for ideas of what to do with the building with the Social Security office leaving.
"I'm very confident something good will come out of the building," he said.
Mehta said he and partners have rehabilitated underutilized buildings in New York and in Waterbury, Conn.
The Social Security office moved to the West 3rd Street location in 2003, after vacating the Federal Building, which was being renovated for use by the federal courts.
At the time, the move was heralded as a recommitment to downtown and to a building that its owners, Mississippi Valley Neighborhood Housing Service, hoped would be a hub for nonprofit and government offices.
Eventually those plans failed, and the building went into foreclosure in 2007.
With Social Security's departure, only two tenants remain, a local office for U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and for Charles F. Day and Associates.
Cook, of the General Services Administration, said the government has signed a 10-year lease on the Brady Street building with options to extend beyond that. The annual rent will be $318,960, he said.