East Moline riverfront to be reborn with Hyatt hotels | Economy

On a now barren industrial site where generations of workers churned out Big Red combines, a pair of Hyatt hotels are finally giving East Moline its shot at riverfront development.

Fighting strong winds that swept across the sprawling site, developers of The Bend on the Mighty Mississippi broke ground Thursday on a dual-branded Hyatt Place and Hyatt hotel. The $40 million hotel project, being built on the former Case IH site, is part of an $80 million mixed-use development planned by Great River Property Development.

Using gold-painted shovels and donning matching hardhats, the development team and city leaders dug up scoops of gravel mix to kick off construction. More than 150 supporters — including past, present and future East Moline officials and business and economic development leaders — were on hand to witness the milestone in the city’s development. 

“It’s taken a long time to get all the right pieces together,” Dan Murphy, the president and CEO of Great River Property Development, said after the ground-breaking. “It took awhile, but it finally came together.”

First announced in December 2010, The Bend project has had many chapters and re-inventions with changes to its ownership group and building designs as well as legal wranglings and a complex financing structure. Earlier this month, Dallas-based HALL Structured Finance, a private lender to the real estate industry, announced it had closed on a $23.2 million first lien construction loan with developers for the Hyatt House and Hyatt Place hotel.

“This is not just East Moline’s day, it is the Quad-Cities’ day,” said East Moline Mayor John Thodos, who was presiding over what likely is his last major economic development project. On May 1, he hands the reins to Mayor-elect Reggie Freeman, who also participated in the ceremony.

“It’s been a long road. People said, ‘It ain’t going to happen, not in East Moline,'” said Thodos, who inherited a vacant Case IH plant with the mayor’s office. “It’s happening here, and I’m very proud it’s happening here.”

The 150,000-square-foot hotel will be a single structure with two Hyatt brands. It will feature an illuminated blade element and a ninth-floor, glass-enclosed lounge.

The 233-room hotel was designed by Legat Architects, with an office in Moline, and will be built by Russell Construction, Davenport. The hotels will include 99 extended-stay rooms in the Hyatt House and 134 traditional rooms in the Hyatt Place.

Murphy said that once crews get to work on the site, construction will take about 14 months. The hotel is being developed by The Bend Hotel Development Corp., which is a partnership between Murphy, the former owner of Precision Pipeline, and Larry Anderson of East Moline Glass.

This marks the first major development project for Murphy, a Silvis native, who now lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, with his wife,…

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