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By Anthony Watt,
MOLINE — The Q isn't ready yet, but it is getting easier to see what its developers have planned.
The development will include a train station and 95-room Westin Element Hotel. It is being built in anticipation of the planned passenger rail route between Chicago and Quad-Cities. The project is a public-private partnership, with Moline and MetroLink working together on the rail station and Moline Promenade Investors/Amin Group building the hotel. The station is expected complete by May, possibly June, and the hotel finished by August.
The development is making use of the old O'Rourke building, which is dominated by a central multistory structure with two roughly single-story additions on the east and west sides. The complex sits on a triangular lot bordered by 12th Street on the west, 15th Street to the east, train tracks to the north and 4th Avenue to the south. The tip of the triangle points east.
As of Tuesday, the huge empty spaces that were the O'Rourke's floors during a similar tour last year had been filled in with the silvery metal frameworks that will be the skeleton of the interior layout.
"As you can see, once all the walls get put in, it's going to be a pretty phenomenal-looking space," Ray Forsythe, Moline's city planning and development director, said as Moline's aldermen took a tour of the construction site.
Mr. Forsythe or representatives of the Amin Group were able make sense of that maze, pointing out the site of the front desk, the swimming pool, the store and restaurants and the hotel rooms.
Those rooms will range from about 350 square feet to 750 square feet, said Pranay Mowji, a partner in the Amin Group. Many will include small but fully equipped kitchens.
Though there were a lot of new elements visible Tuesday, Mr. Forsythe said The Q will retain much of the visual look of the O'Rourke. Elements of the original facade and windows are being restored or replicated, and the design is incorporating many of the original pillars
The project will also include green space, and a planned entertainment center in the basement.
"It will be an amenity-rich hotel," Mr. Forsythe said.
From the outside, further progress was visible: the frame of the several new floors being added to the eastern addition of the O'Rourke were largely in place, as was the framework of the train station's atrium. Work on the supporting parking lots on adjacent blocks was also well underway.
The aldermen also met as the committee of the whole and the city council Tuesday night. Ald. Stephanie Acri, at-Large, was not present for the proceedings.
During the committee of the whole, they unanimously approved two items related to The Q:
— Authorization to pay for an easement from Iowa Interstate Railroad that will allow the construction of an elevated walkway so pedestrians can pass over the railroad tracks to reach the Centre Station parking ramp. The easement will cost $15,000, with the funds being drawn from tax-increment-financing district funds.
The easement was fast-tracked to the city council meeting for final approval, where it was also unanimously approved.
— Paying about $15,000 to consultant Terracon and the Waste Commission of Scott County in relation to the removal of contaminated soil from the 12th Street parking lot portion of The Q project. An underground storage tank was discovered there, and the site had to be cleaned up. The money is also being drawn from TIF funds.
This was about a $3,000 increase from what was originally published in the agenda, but Moline city engineer Scott Hinton told the council there was also a bill from Terracon for draining the storage tank.
The committee also unanimously approved these measures:
— A resolution allowing the city to spend $101,671 of contingency money to pay its share of the 2017 costs for the joint emergency call center. The center, also known as the Illinois Quad Cities Communications Center or QComm911, is a collaboration between Moline, East Moline, Silvis and Milan.
— The purchase of four leaf vacuums from Bonnell Industries Inc. The vacuums, mounted on trailers, will cost a total of $143,848.
— An agreement that would designate Moline as the operator for Coal Valley's drinking water system.
Acting in that capacity, Moline's staff would handle a number of tasks, including testing water, maintaining records and carrying out regulatory reporting.
Tony Loete, Moline's utilities general manager, said Monday that Illinois communities are required to have an operator, and Coal Valley had recently stopped working with the one it had.
Coal Valley must still take action on the measure, Mr. Loete said.
— A development and economic incentive agreement with Midwest Palms LLC for a housing project at 1320 49th St. and 1322 49th St. was tabled because aldermen wanted more information about some of the costs involved.
Midwest Palms wants to build 16 market-rate townhouses at the site.
Actions at committee of the whole are usually tentative. Measures approved during a committee meeting must still be addressed at a future city council meeting.
Acting as the city council, aldermen also unanimously approved a resolution that would allow Moline's participation in the Illinois Housing Development Authority's Single Family Rehab program. The program is designed to help remedy health and safety hazards in low-income homes.
The city would receive about $236,000.
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