- Associated Press - Saturday, April 15, 2017

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - The state has given preliminary approval to grants that will help finance the renovation of an architecturally significant former school in Davenport into senior-living apartments.

Tina Hoffman of the Iowa Economic Development Authority told the Quad-City Times (https://bit.ly/2pjNmxR ) that a final decision is expected shortly.

Developer Chris Ales said he has been told he’ll receive a $3 million grant from the authority to turn the former Buchanan Elementary School into 18 senior apartments. The federal funds have been made available to communities affected by flooding in 2008 and are designated for new housing projects.

Ales said work on the $5.4 million project is expected to begin in two to three months, with occupancy beginning in 2018.

The property, designed by the noted architectural firm of Clausen Burrows, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

However, the building has become an eyesore in recent years as some windows have been boarded up or broken out. The site is surrounded by a chain link fence with overgrown plants.

The school opened in 1904 and closed in 1940. It was vacant for more than a decade until it became used as a training center for the U.S. Navy in 1951. The Navy stayed in the building until 1978.

Donald “Bobe” Lopez purchased the building in 1988 to use it as storage space for his antique auto parts business.

Ales said the project is ready for groundbreaking because all preparation work has already been done, including marketing and environmental studies, final construction drawings and financial approval.

Ales said other financing for the project includes about $2 million in equity from the sale of federal and state historic preservation tax credits as well as benefits from the city and state.


Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com

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