Mississippi Wellspring

Mississippi Wellspring

A massive complex on the Mississippi River will be the largest mixed-use development in Illinois, according to a five-year development plan. The plan seeks to turn a long-vacant former industrial site into an economic engine for the Quad Cities region.

The first element of the $150 million plan, dubbed Fountainhead Quad Cities, will be a Hyatt Place hotel (for short stays) and Hyatt House hotel (extended stays), both designed by JAHN.

James DeStefano’s master plan calls for a variety of uses, including a pharmacy, credit union/bank, drive-through food courts, retail outlets, medical facility, restaurants, and sports center, plus 300 apartment units, senior citizen housing, a storage facility, condos, and a 3.5-acre Central Park. Stanley Tigerman will design the retail component and Margaret McCurry the residential; Peter Osler is the landscape architect.

Developers J. Paul Beitler and River Eagle Development Group bought the 132-acre (3.6 million square feet) former Case New Holland industrial site—vacant since the Case plant stopped manufacturing agricultural equipment there in 2004. The purchase price was $1.5 million.

JAHN’s 120-room Hyatt Place and a 132-room Hyatt House will be the site’s anchor tenants and its first building. Like much of the development, said JAHN’s Phillip Castillo, the hotels will engage the river.

“The challenge of this project is that there is actually a 15-foot-high levee that borders the site,” Castillo said. “We organized this hotel around the outdoor space, oriented toward the river.”

The hotel, split into two L-shaped wings, one for nightly stays and another targeted at extended-stay customers, flanks a courtyard raised to the river’s level, where it connects by bridge to the top of the levee. Restaurants, lounges, and a fitness center will open out onto the courtyard, which ties in to RiverWay, the area’s 100-mile bike path and parks network. Beneath those amenities will be 130 parking spots, as well as entrances to the building.

“It’s a way to give the building a public face,” Castillo said, “not just to the street but to the river.”

Viewed from the street, concrete walls stained yellow and green identify the two types of hotels. A system of clear polycarbonate tubes unites the two wings, lending some texture and sun shading to the alternating geometric pattern created by the building’s windows. From the river, a steel trellis gives a sense of enclosure to the outdoor plaza space.

“The idea is to make the building ‘read’ like a ship on the river,” Castillo said. Wildlife will be another special feature: Bald Eagle migrations draw tourists to the lock and dam areas of the river, where dozens of eagles gather every winter.

The Quad Cities region—composed of Bettendorf and Davenport, Iowa, and Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline, Illinois—is home to the corporate headquarters of agricultural equipment giant John Deere. The area has enjoyed a resurgence lately, with Western Illinois University expanding its second campus in Moline and Amtrak expanding service connecting the area to Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska.

Construction on the hotel is expected to take 18 to 20 months, with the master plan developing over three to five years.