Council ready to support new Dock development

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Redevelopment plans for the old Dock Restaurant in Davenport took a step forward Monday as City Council members showed widespread support for the project, despite Levee Commission concerns.

For the past decade, the old restaurant has sat empty. Damaged by floods and fire, even Mayor Bill Gluba calls the building "ugly" and "an eyesore."

"Now, we're looking at getting something done," Gluba said Monday at a joint work session between the City Council and Levee Commission.

Developer Todd Raufeisen has a plan to replace the old building with a new, four-story, mixed-use space. The $24-$27 million dollar investment would include three or four restaurants, two floors of office space, and a fourth floor banquet and reception hall.

"There's no place you can go and truly experience and enjoy dining and entertainment on the Mississippi River, and our hope is to bring that back," said Raufeisen.

Raufeisen is asking for TIF funds to finance a bridge and raised platform the building would sit on. Both are necessary to keep the development accessible all the time, even with flooding.

Last month, though, levee commissioners threw the brakes on the project, raising concerns about the building's fourth floor and the amount of office space included.

"I heard, mostly from levee commission members, that size is the issue -- it's got to be the right size. They don't want it to completely dominate our riverfront because that is public area," said Gluba.

Monday, City Council members, though, seemed on a different page entirely. Many pointed out that the decision was their's -- not the Levee Commission's -- and said they were ready to vote on the project now.

Raufeisen left the meeting encouraged by the council's support, and said he remains confident construction can begin in spring of 2014.

"It's gonna be exciting, and it's gonna be in Davenport," Raufeisen said.

No vote was taken at Monday's meeting, but city leaders plan to put a development agreement with Raufeisen on the council agenda in the coming weeks. The Levee Commission can make a recommendation, but it is not required for the Council to take action.

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