The city of Davenport's efforts to spur private investment in an area of East 6th Street stalled recently when a Davenport man with plans to build three new homes using conventional financing had to back out.
Architect Andrew Dasso said appraisal values on existing homes in the neighborhood still aren't high enough to make his Riverview on 6th housing community financially feasible.
His goal had been to build three homes, including one for himself. He then intended to sell the other two homes as well as the remaining three lots, bundled with Dasso-designed home plans.
But, no one is giving up.
The nonprofit housing organization Habitat for Humanity Quad-Cities is continuing its efforts to lift the neighborhood with the building of two homes in the area. And the city will go back to the drawing board to try to find someone else in the private sector who can take on the former Dasso property, Heather Johnson, community development resources manager for the city, said.
Since 2015, the city has spent about $2.3 million in the neighborhood in hopes of giving it a "jumpstart," Johnson said.
The money was used to buy, demolish and clear properties and build six new homes that have been sold and are occupied. Crumbling sidewalks and a retaining wall also were reconstructed.
The most recent homes the city built cost about $200,000 each to construct and were sold for $110,000. The city covered the gap as part of its goal of turning around the neighborhood.
The 1.6-acre parcel on which Dasso was hoping to build also was part of this work; the city bought the land, cleared it and conveyed it to him for free with the stipulation that he build on it within three years or it would come back to the city.
Staff members have not yet discussed what they are going to try next in regard to the parcel. "It will be a process," Johnson said. The city may ask for requests for proposals or market the land as-is.
Ald. Marion Meginnis, whose 3rd Ward includes the neighborhood, said she is hopeful "there's somebody else out there" who will see the opportunity and take a chance.
As for Habitat, the two, two-story homes it is building side-by-side just east of the intersection of Iowa and East 6th streets will join eight other homes the organization built in the same general area since 2010, executive director Kristi Crafton said.
And Habitat owns two more properties in the neighborhood that it might be ready to build on next year, she added. The lots were donated by the city.
"We like to build our homes in target areas," Crafton explained. "That way we can help lift the value of the whole neighborhood."
Meginnis also is expecting a neighborhood boost with completion this summer of the $30 million-plus Gordon-Van Tine Commons, directly south of East 6th Street at Federal Street and East River Drive.
In that project, developers are turning nine warehouses and a former office building into commercial and residential space. Some commercial space, such as Isabel Bloom, already is open. The first of 113 apartments are expected to be ready for occupancy by June 1, a company representative said last week.
Another expected plus for the area will be the building of a new Scott County Family Y planned for the former W.G. Block property. Ground-breaking is expected in September or October.