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East Moline development moves forward

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Development that would bring East Moline's first hotel, as well as 2,000 jobs to the area, took a step forward Monday night.

Monday, the East Moline City Council approved a new TIF, or tax increment financing, district for the area that will house the future Fountainhead of the Quad Cities. The council first set up a TIF district for the project last year, but the original assessment was incorrect. To fix the problem, the original TIF district had to be dissolved, and a new one created.

"Basically, we wasted an entire year on this, and it's an unfortunate situation, but I think in the course of the year, they've had a chance to focus a little better. A year ago, we weren't talking about a Hyatt. Now, we're talking about a Hyatt," said Mayor John Thodos.

Since Case New Holland closed in 2004, the lot has sat vacant. In 2010, River Eagle Investments bought the site, and residents were hopeful when the group finally announced a developer six months ago.

The latest plans call for two Hyatt hotels, apartments, retail space and even a band shell. The investment is estimated at $150 million, and could create 2,000 jobs.

Monday, some residents said they were skeptical the lot would ever be anything but empty. East Moline's mayor, though, calls the project a "complete positive."

"We don't get anything thrown to us in East Moline. I mean, we work for everything. And people didn't think we'd get a FedEx, people didn't think we'd get Hope Creek, people didn't think lots of things... and that's fine," said Thodos.

According to the developer's website, Fountainhead is scheduled to be constructed in seven phases over a 10-year period. The first major phase could start this fall.