Justin Martinez and his family moved onto their quiet, residential street in Bettendorf just a few weeks ago.
“The reason we bought this place is to not have such high traffic through here,” said Martinez.
But now he, along with several of his neighbors, are worried a proposed apartment complex could change that.
Martinez’s neighborhood surrounds the intersection of Dove Court and Hawk Drive in Bettendorf, and is somewhat secluded, largely due to being surrounded by dead end streets.
“We’re in an area where you really don’t hear much of 53rd and you don’t really hear much of 18th Street,” said Martinez.
But they do back up to the vast farm land, which could soon be transformed into a 19-building, 304 unit, apartment complex.
It’s located at the border of Davenport and Bettendorf, off 53rd Street. The complex would land on the Davenport side.
Watermark Residential, a developer based out of Indianapolis, Indiana, proposed the multi-million dollar project.
In addition to the apartment buildings, it would include a pool, a dog park, and a club house.
It’s estimated to cost around $35 million, and take almost two years to complete.
The complex would replace what is currently farm land that belongs to long-time owner, Sophie Foster.
“It’s an interesting situation this lot…the ‘Sophie Foster Lot,’ as we often call it, has been vacant for many years and finally, a developer came to town with the owner and they worked something out that was amendable to both,” said Davenport’s 6th Ward Alderman, Rich Clewell. “So now we have a situation where this is likely to be developed, the proposal.”
Clewell, tells Local 4 News it won’t just be for residential use. He says roughly six acres in the front will be one-story buildings for commercial use. The residential properties will take up the 24-acres behind that, and be no more than two stories high.
“So I really believe that it is the appropriate response to what that area could be used for in terms of honoring the concerns residents might have, and also adding some vitality to the 53rd corridor,” said Clewell.
But the extensive apartment complex has raised concerns from residents about increased traffic on 53rd Street, school accommodations, and more.
“Have there been concerns? Yes,” said Clewell. “And it will mean more traffic on 53rd street. Studies have been done that they don’t believe it’s going to be a significant detriment to anyone traveling in 53rd, but it will be increased traffic.”
But hopes to ease some of the neighbor’s concerns, noting those residential streets will stay blocked off.
“There are a number of areas around the development that lead out to both Bettendorf and Davenport… none of those dead ends are going to be opened up to traffic so there will be only two entrances off 53rd into the area,” said Clewell. He noted a fifth lane will be added to 53rd Street, from Elmore Avenue to Brady Street.
But Clewell says he hears neighbor’s concerns, and he hopes he can find a compromise.
“There are issues again that we are going to be listening to over the next six weeks, and then ultimately come out with the best decision for the people of Davenport.”
While the apartments will be located on the Davenport side, they fall in Bettendorf’s school district.
“The Superintendent of Bettendorf Schools has indicated no capacity problem,” said Clewell. He estimates the apartments would bring roughly 100 to 150 kids into the Bettendorf School District, mainly in primary and early education grade levels.
To answer concerns about water run-off, Clewell says that won’t be an issue, noting Davenport Public Works’ Water Management Plans.
“There will be no more water coming off that property than currently runs off,” he said.
Martinez says if the development gets the go-ahead, he wants to see some distance between the complex and his neighborhood.
“Now if they do build it I would like to see some separation between the housing and the apartment complex,” said Martinez.
Jerry Phillips has lived in his Bettendorf neighborhood for 25 years, and he currently looks out on the acres of farm land from his own backyard.
“The 25 years I’ve lived here we’ve had either corn or soybeans in our backyard,” said Phillips.
Phillips says while he knew it would eventually be developed into something new, apartments are not what he had in mind.
“I was just hoping it would be single-family,” said Phillips.
But he says knowing their supposed to be upscale apartments puts his mind at ease a bit.
Down the street, Travis Howell says while he, too, wishes they could see single-family homes, the complex doesn’t sound too bad.
“Well I mean if it was regular residential homes, single-family homes, that might be preferable. Like I don’t care that it’s residential,” said Howell. He says while it’s not the best solution as a home owner, as a nearby business owner, the more foot traffic, the better.
And Phillips and a few of his neighbors say while they may not be able to stop development, they just hope it won’t disturb the peace.
“Well it is a quiet neighborhood, and it’s a wonderful neighborhood, and I just hope it remains so with the development behind us,” said Phillips.
Davenport City Council is expected to hold a public hearing, and have their first reading on the proposal , at Wednesday night’s Committee of the Whole meeting.