Two major projects are in the works in downtown Moline.
City leaders are getting ready for an influx of people to visit the area once the new Amtrak passenger rail line from Chicago to the Quad Cities is built.
The first development involves the O'Rourke Building on 12th Street near River Drive, next to Centre Station and the iWireless Center. On Tuesday, February 5, 2013, Moline City Council voted unanimously to start negotiations with a developer called The Amin Group. The plan is to redevelop the building into the Quad Cities' Amtrak station. A spokesman from The Amin Group says they also plan to include some retail and restaurants on the first floor as well as turn the top five floors into an extended stay hotel.
Aldermen also approved a development agreement with Moline Hotel Group, LLC to convert the former Deere Collector's Center on 16th Street near River Drive into a 100-suite hotel.
Moline Mayor Don Welvaert says the addition of more hotel rooms to downtown will do more than just provide people visiting with a place to stay.
"You're going to have the people from the Chicagoland area and from points in between that are going to come down to Moline and the Quad Cities and experience something they haven't experienced before and as a result, these businesses and retail establishments are going to gain because of that."
WQAD stopped by a couple of those businesses on Tuesday. Beth Lagomarcino, co-owner of the 105-year-old Lagomarcino's Confectionery on 5th Avenue, says she believes her business is one of the places people will seek out when they visit.
"Bringing more people into the Quad Cities is wonderful," says Beth. "To see what is happening now, is just extremely exciting. I think my grandfather would realize he made a wonderful choice deciding on downtown Moline."
On the other side of the train tracks, the co-owners of 13-year-old WaterMark Corners and Stationers say downtown is moving in the right direction.
"We're seeing new people moving in, we're seeing new businesses opening, and we're seeing new developments," says Amy Trimble. "It's really exciting."
Amy's family has also owned Trimble Funeral Home on 21st Street and 6th Avenue in Moline since the 1940s. She says Amtrak station's addition of an extended stay hotel will give every kind of business downtown what they need to succeed.
"They want more than hotels, not quite apartments, so that extended stay is going to bring in a whole clientele and customer to the downtown area that we haven't had before."
Mayor Welvaert says more hotel rooms will also help the iWireless Center attract bigger performers and conventions to its venue.
The Illinois Department of Transportation says crews will start work on the Amtrak line in the summer of 2014. It will take about a year to complete. The Amtrak station is expected to be complete in the fall of 2014.