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Developer Needs More Time for Downtown RI Project

the VanDerGinst Building at 2nd Ave. & 17th St. in Rock Island.
Credit WVIK News
a key part of the renovation will be restoring the Chief Black Hawk mural.

The developer of a vacant office building in downtown Rock Island needs more time. So Monday night the city council will consider extending an agreement with Saratoga Capital for the renovation of the VanDerGinst Building at 17th Street and 2nd Avenue.

Chandler Poole, director of Community and Economic Development, says finding funding has delayed the 10 million dollar project.

"It needs some help. There was a lot of deferred maintenance and with older historic buildings definitely, the challenges are different than a new building that just needs new carpet and paint."

To qualify for incentives from Rock Island's downtown tax increment financing district, the project must be completed by next June - converting the building into 33 apartments and an 11 room "boutique hotel," with commercial space on the first floor.

Poole says the city will pay for the restoration of the mural of Chief Black Hawk on the exterior facing First Avenue. 

A native of Detroit, Herb Trix began his radio career as a country-western disc jockey in Roswell, New Mexico (“KRSY, your superkicker in the Pecos Valley”), in 1978. After a stint at an oldies station in Topeka, Kansas (imagine getting paid to play “Louie Louie” and “Great Balls of Fire”), he wormed his way into news, first in Topeka, and then in Freeport Illinois.