$13.9-million Wilson Lofts development in Clinton gets $38,856 grant boost

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The home page for the downtown Clinton Wilson Lofts project, which is expected to be completed in summer 2022.

The Wilson Lofts development in Clinton has won a boost, thanks to a $38,856 grant awarded to the Gateway Area Foundation by the Clinton County Development Association (CCDA).

The money will be used to support the Clinton Culinary and Makers on 5th business incubators on the ground floor of Wilson Lofts, to advance job creation and business activity in Clinton County.

The Gateway Area Foundation served as applicant for the Wilson Lofts, working closely with the developers, Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH), to get the grant application submitted.

“It is of our belief that the advancement of community and economic development, in downtown Clinton, relies, in large measure on the Wilson Building’s redevelopment,” Rich Phelan, Corporate Secretary of the Gateway Area Foundation (GAF), said in a Friday release.

“The developer is investing nearly $14 million into the community and creating or supporting over 180 jobs through this redevelopment effort, many of which are from Clinton County,” GAF chair Jeff Atkinson said. “With this in mind, the Gateway Area Foundation’s Board of Directors approved application on behalf of the Wilson Building’s rehabilitation and redevelopment effort.”

Brian Hollenback, CEO of Economic Growth Corporation

“We continue to be floored by the amount of community support we receive for the Wilson Lofts redevelopment,” Brian Hollenback, President/CEO of GROWTH, said in the release. “The CCDA grant only helps us deliver the quality development everyone is seeking, and we are proud to deploy this precious source into Makers on 5th and Clinton Culinary that will help create new opportunities for Clinton County entrepreneurs who want to start a food, retail, or small business by reducing barriers to entry and give them the tools to thrive within an entrepreneurial setting.”

A formal acknowledgement of the CCDA’s contribution will be added to the ribbon-cutting ceremony once the Wilson Lofts construction is completed, expected in June or July 2022. The overall development effort consists of creation of 33 residential apartments and the construction of the Makers on 5th and Clinton Culinary business incubators.

Entrepreneurs can open within the Makers on 5th or Clinton Culinary while having the option to live all within the Wilson Lofts through its comprehensive, mixed-use redevelopment.

Nearly $14 million is being invested in the historic Wilson Building at 210-217 5th Avenue South, Clinton.

An entirely new tax base is being created, and additional sales tax will be generated through the incubator spaces once GROWTH starts entering into leases, the release said. The incubators will be leased to entrepreneurs at significantly below-market rates that provides them an opportunity to build a foundation for success. The goals of both incubators are that the entrepreneurs expand into larger locations throughout Clinton and Clinton County.

  • Clinton Culinary provides 5 incubator spaces targets culinary start-ups wishing to open within a storefront space with access directly from 5th Avenue South.
  • Makers on 5th provides 6 incubator spaces targeting start-up retailers and small businesses seeking to share space and resources to establish and grow eventually into a larger storefront

Out of the $13.88 million in total project costs, $500,000 has been raised by GROWTH to build out the two incubator spaces. With rising construction costs, the CCDA grant will help toward completion of the buildout for incubators with additional sponsorships being sought.

Built in 1914 as Clinton’s largest and most modern office building, the Wilson Building stands six stories high, making it the tallest building in Clinton’s downtown business district.

“With more than 40 on the wait list for the apartments, and two businesses already interested in the incubators, we are confident that the Wilson Lofts will make a catalytic impact all while advancing multiple community plans addressing all components by celebrating history, housing, recreation, and a sense of place through the business incubators,” said Jon Davidshofer, GROWTH vice president and project lead for the Wilson Lofts. “The CCDA grant only adds to our excitement for this project.”

For more information, visit wilson-lofts.com.

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