Rock Island VFW closing, pending sale may clear way for new development

VFW Post 1303 will be closing its doors for good by the end of the year, and could eventually make way for a big box retailer.

Quad City developer Ted Rebitzer, with Quad Cities Iowa Realty, confirms he has agreements to buy the VFW and the Watchtower Plaza along Rock Island’s 11th Street.

Rebitzer says it’s too early to say what stores are in the city’s future, or if the buildings will be refurbished or torn down.

“I don’t have my crystal ball. I intend on doing something. I have ideas. The project has evolved, but it’s too premature to tell what is the likely outcome”, he said.

The VFW has struggled financially after 19 years in its current location. P.J. Hymes says selling the building that sits on three acres to Rebitzer is a win-win.

“That contract is pending. It has been signed and approved by our membership, as of Monday a week ago  We don’t know what’s going in here or when”, he said.

The VFW will shut its doors December 30th, but still have an active membership, and hold monthly meetings somewhere else.

A few business owners in Watchtower Plaza say they are concerned about their leases, and having time to move out. Some are meeting with the city on Monday for more information.

A Walmart deal with a different developer in an area a couple of blocks south fell through a few years ago.

Rebitzer says he is moving forward, but keeping his plans to himself, for now.

“I’ve got three good likely outcomes. Time will tell.”

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