Amtrak service in the Quad Cities took a step closer to reality when the Moline City Council, meeting as a committee of the whole, voted to approve a term sheet with developer The Amin Group for construction of a downtown train station and hotel.
"It's pretty complicated. It's a pretty unique project in that it's not going to just be a train station," said Moline's Planning and Development director Ray Forsythe.
The Amin Group plans to turn the O'Rourke building, a former Sears and Roebuck warehouse at the corner of 12th Street and 4th Avenue, into a passenger rail station. The second through sixth floors will serve as an extended-stay hotel with at least 80 rooms. The building will also include 5,000 square feet of retail space for coffee shops, restaurants and stores, as well as a public waiting area, ticketing counters, and restrooms.
"We need to have the project done by December of 2014, so we're under the gun to complete our plans," said David Smith with Equity Growth Group, a consultant working on the project for The Amin Group.
But even with passenger rail service not set to arrive in the Quad Cities until at least 2015, the developers say they're not worried.
"There's a demand for extended-stay hotels in the downtown area, so as long as we can get that open and operating, the rest of it will follow," said Smith.
And city leaders hope the station and hotel will spur development throughout the downtown area.
"We're hopefully creating an environment that people can come in and create jobs, open a restaurant, open a retail store," said Forsythe.
Federal and state grants being used for the station require it to be completed by December of 2014. The City Council, though, must still approve a full development agreement with The Amin Group before construction can begin.