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Davenport revitalization: 'East 2nd Street is going to look completely different'
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Davenport revitalization: 'East 2nd Street is going to look completely different'

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Construction has begun on two new, 5-story buildings in downtown Davenport that will change the city's skyline, and plans are in the works for new businesses including a movie theater that will rebuild the 2nd Street retail corridor.

"By the fall of 2021, East Second Street is going to look completely different and very much for the better," said Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, an arm of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce. 

Under construction are a building immediately south of the Davenport RiverCenter at 210 E. 2nd St. that will house 56 market-rate apartments on the upper floors with ground-floor retail space, and another at the corner of West River Drive and Ripley Street with 55 market-rate apartments. 

"We're lucky to see this," Carter said of the new construction. "It's a miracle, what with the flood and COVID, that we're building two new five-story buildings in the downtown."

The Great River Brewery location at 2nd and Iowa that has been closed since the 2019 flood should be back in business with a new name and look.

Across the street at 325 E. 2nd St., developer Pete Stopulos and partners are planning a Quad-Cities Film House with three movie screens, including one for private rental.

The group behind the development wants to partner with nonprofits such as the Davenport School District's Creative Arts Academy and the Alternating Currents festival to make the movie house a cultural attraction not just a business.

"We're hoping to create a real cultural experience that doesn't exist in this market," Stopulos said.

Farther east on 2nd St., two buildings at the foot of the Government Bridge — formerly Ragged Records and Trash Can Annie — are going to see new life as apartments and a restaurant.

"It'll change that corner," Bill Sheeder said of his plans for the buildings he purchased, along with the Dam View Inn that will stay as it is.

"It's never been utilized," he said of the spot. "It's a cool location, right off the Arsenal bridge. Several people were interested in it, but I got it before them. I was excited to grab it. It'll change the dynamics of the downtown. It's going to be very, very, very cool."

Sheeder and his wife Stephanie Sellers are the brains behind several area eateries, including Baked, Beer and Bread Co. in the Village of East Davenport.

Sheeder's vision for the buildings with the shared address of 418 E. 2nd St. is a taco restaurant and bar on the first floor with access to the rooftop. And he plans to build a second floor on the one-story building nearest the bridge with five apartments of various sizes sporting New Orleans-style balconies.

Sheeder is hoping to accomplish his plans by spring 2021.

The couple also has two other businesses downtown.

On Sept. 12, they opened Cookies & Dreams at 217 E. 2nd St., a shop that sells extravagant cookies.

And they have another project in the works — this one in "the little green building" at 118 E. 4th St., just east of the Forrest Block Apartments.

It will be a breakfast-brunch restaurant called Toasted. Open from early morning to early afternoon, it will offer some lunch foods. But the emphasis will be on breakfast, from classic bacon and eggs to upscale, fun foods such as multi-layered pancakes and avocado toast — the extravagant and surprising combinations that have become Sellers' forté.

"Ridiculous eats — that's what we've become known for," she said.

Renovation is going on now, with opening expected in November or December, Sellers said.  Among the work will be the installation of an elevator to offer rooftop dining during nice weather.

As for the two business that were run out by the flood — Trash Can Annie and Ragged Records — they are expected to be relocating to the west side of 311 E. 2nd St. in a building that had housed Abernathy's and Dress for Success before the flood.

The building is now owned by Stopulos.

The east side of that building is still available, but is expected to be occupied "by a tenant familiar to Quad-City music fans," Stopulos said.

Great River Brewery

The building that housed Great River Brewery until flood waters from the failed HESCO barrier literally ran employees and customers out of the bar on April 30, 2019, is expected to be open by January with the name Great Revivalist Brewing.

And it will have an entirely different look, with the installation of an interior mezzanine level with a walk-out balcony. From this vantage point, patrons will be able to look down on patrons in the existing triangular space below as well as out toward the Mississippi River and Lock & Dam 15.

And, for the first time, the establishment will offer food — pizza, pannini and salads.

These plans are the brainchild of Richard Schwab, a former telephone and cable company executive from Seattle, Washington, who decided about two years ago to leave the corporate world to start his own business.

Because he loves beer, he decided to buy a brewery. In considering the options, he happened upon the Lionstone in Geneseo, Illinois, as well as Great River in Davenport.

He decided to buy both. The former Lionstone has already been extensively renovated into the Great Revivalist Brew Lab, offering micro brews, food, outdoor (and pet friendly) dining and the opportunity for customers to brew their own beer.

Work in Davenport is just getting started, Schwab said, but if materials arrive in the next three weeks as expected, turn-around time could be as little as eight weeks, he said. 

Other developments:

• The Half Nelson restaurant and Boothill Honey Meads continue to operate at 321 E. 2nd St. Owned by Stopulos, the buildings were flooded in 2019 but both businesses quickly came back. (People driving by Boothill Honey Meads in the morning should not be confused by the "closed" sign in the window. That simply refers to its afternoon and evening hours.)

• The former Roam restaurant at 210 E. River Drive — open only four months before the flood — did not reopen, but the building owned by Stopulos is home to Stompbox Brewery + Kitchen Brigade, offering food and drink.

• Paradigm Virtual Reality Gaming & Experience, 320 E. 2nd St., reopened after the flood, and on Sept. 1, Stopulos, who also owns that building, opened a business called The Drawing Room in vacant space.

It's a membership-based cigar lounge that also is open to the public. It's open daily, and members have their own key fob for 24-hour access. "It has the feeling of a very upscale, cozy, inviting place to spend time," Stopulos said.

"There's just a lot going on," he said, summing up projects in the works in downtown Davenport.

And because several of these projects are geared toward experiences rather than shopping, "it's going to be a totally different retail experience," he said.

"It really is making East Second Street a destination experience."

Because all of the projects are scheduled for 2021 openings, Stopulos expects they will tap into a lot of pent-up demand for something to do after months of COVID-19 restrictions. 

As Carter said: "A year from now, downtown Davenport is going to look a lot different." 


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