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New federal courthouse in Rock Island to be built, partly owned by Russell Construction; protest filed by developer Joe Lemon
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New federal courthouse in Rock Island to be built, partly owned by Russell Construction; protest filed by developer Joe Lemon

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The new federal courthouse planned for downtown Rock Island will be built by Russell Construction and partly owned by Russell Government Group LLC.

Kelly Young, senior development manager for Russell Construction, said Russell Government Group, LLC makes up 50% of Rock Island Investors, the group awarded the $49.8 million contract by the General Services Administration to build a new courthouse for the Central District of Illinois. 

The remainder of Rock Island Investors is owned 30% by Fishman Family Properties LLC and 20% by Jeff Eirinberg.

The former Bituminous Insurance Co., 320 18th St., will be demolished to make way for the 53,356-square-foot, three-story federal building, which will house multiple federal tenants. The Central District of Illinois will sign a 20-year lease for the building.

Young said construction is estimated to cost around $20 million, but that the "final total cost will be established based on the GSA design program." Shive-Hattery, which specializes in judicial design, will serve as the architect.

Young said Rock Island Investors began the solicitation process in 2018.

"This project has been years in the making and will positively affect the city of Rock Island and its surrounding areas," Young said. 

The project is expected to break ground this fall and the GSA is expected to occupy the building in late 2022 or early 2023, Young said. 

A protest against the GSA contract award was filed July 30 by Joe Lemon. Lemon was one of several developers who submitted applications to the GSA in March, 2020 as he attempted to offer up the old county courthouse for renovation and reuse as a federal courthouse.

"The protest is being responded to by the GSA," Young said. "They will let us know when or if anything is required from us. We are confident it will be resolved quickly."

Lemon could not be reached for comment. 

When the new courthouse opens, it will be the first time since October 2018 that Rock Island County residents won't have to travel across the river to conduct business at the federal courthouse in Davenport at 131 E. 4th St. The former Central District of Illinois courthouse, 211 19th St., Rock Island, was permanently closed due to mold and flooding issues. 

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