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Developer makes pitch for Spiegel building

A developer's vision for the long-vacant Spiegel building on Moline's riverfront could make it one of the most sought-after retail and residential locations in the city.

Developer makes pitch for Spiegel building

Story via Jennifer DeWitt, Quad-City Times

A developer’s vision for the long-vacant Spiegel building on Moline’s riverfront could make it one of the most sought-after retail and residential locations in the city.

Two developers have submitted formal proposals to purchase and renovate the structure located off River Drive at 200-202 20th St.

The city asked for proposals by March 26 consistent with the city’s adopted redevelopment plan. The city is asking $327,500 for the building and hopes to close on the property by July 31.

Spared from demolition for the new Interstate-74 bridge, the Spiegel building is situated between the base of the existing Interstate 74 bridge and construction on the new span. Built in 1928-1930 as the Eagle Signal Building, it was the home of Spiegel Moving & Storage for about 50 years.

In January 2016, owner Tom Spiegel sold it to Moline for $303,000. It has been vacant for more than two years.

Keller Williams Realty submitted a written proposal, but did not attend Tuesday’s meeting for a visual presentation.

Tuesday’s session was hosted by city staff and Renew Moline.

Heart of America Vice President and General Counsel Kirk Whalen pitched his company’s development proposal for the building to city officials. A slideshow of architectural renderings show a sleek, urban design with upper terraces and rebuilt staircases.

“We find what people want and feed them,” Whalen said. “The good thing about Moline is its growth is facilitated, not forced.”

With more than 8,000 square feet per floor, plans for the four-story brick building include retail on the first floor, and residential living on the second, third and fourth floors. Whalen said there is potential for the addition of two more floors to maximize river and bridge views, in addition to a rooftop terrace with a lounge area and landscaping.

“With 12- to 14-foot ceilings, the view will be amazing,” he said. “The rooftop would be an open-air space. It has to be conducive to residential use.”

 Whalen indicated incentive money from the city will help alleviate some of the problems with the building.

“There is lead paint, the roof is shot, and many of the floors are rotted because water has come through,” Whalen said. “It needs a new elevator, new windows, and the exterior needs stabilizing and tuckpointing. The stairwells will have to be replaced on both ends. To save the building will be very costly.”

Planning and Development Director Ray Forsythe asked Whalen what Heart of America’s timeline would be for developing the building.

“Until that bridge is down, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to occupy it,”   Whalen said.

When asked how Heart of America Group plans to finance such a project with other development deals in the works, Whalen assured city leaders the company has the resources to handle multiple projects.

“We put old-fashioned equity in our projects, in addition to traditional lending,” Whalen said. “We aren’t dependent on financing.”

When pressed on parking availability, Whalen admitted a suitable parking solution had not yet been worked out.

Alderman Dick Potter said the next step is for the city’s design, build, and management team (DBMT) to meet June 6. From there, members will provide a recommendation to project management team.

“I think we all had an idea that’s what the ultimate use of a building like that would be,” Potter said. “The two proposals are fairly similar.”

“I would love to live there,” Whalen said. “Our offices are at 15th and River Drive. I would love to have a river view again with proximity to the bike path. That kind of building could be really amazing right there on the waterfront.”