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City of Moline acquires prime riverfront real estate with purchase of Heritage Church property

The 119,114 square-foot building sits on seven acres of prime riverfront property which will be used to develop city parks and more.

MOLINE, Ill. — The City of Moline announced in a Thursday press release that they've officially acquired the Heritage Church property known as BridgePointe 485 campus.

With the razing of the old I-74 Bridge, the city intends to use the property as the center point for future riverfront development. 

The 119,114 square-foot building located at 1 Montgomery Drive was previously purchased by Heritage in 2017.

The City of Moline began imploring about the property last year after the Urban Land Institute (ULI) suggested that Moline should build a park, basketball courts, a 200-to-400-foot water spout, riverfront restaurants and even a zipline from the old KONE tower. 

The City of Moline previously requested a research report from ULI, a nonprofit land use research institute, to study Moline and come up with a comprehensive strategy to tackle issues such as underutilized spaces and vacant office buildings. 

The purchase will cost the City of Moline $3.1 million. 

“Purchasing the property allows us to evaluate all options for the riverfront, and to maximize the potential redevelopment of the area,” City Administrator Bob Vitas said. “The Heritage Church leadership team has been an active and constructive partner with the City in discussions of the future of Moline’s riverfront for both public and private projects. The City is grateful for the church’s willingness to consider a direct sale.”

The purchase of the property will enable the city to consolidate it with land previously occupied by the old I-74 Bridge. That land, which is owned by the Illinois Department of Transportation, will soon be handed over to the city.

“We are thankful for the partnerships that have brought this significant opportunity to fruition and for the foresight of the City Council in approving this purchase. Our riverfront is an incredible asset for residents and visitors, and assembling property along it like this will allow for the maximum impact of our redevelopment efforts," Moline mayor Sangeetha Rayapati said in a press release.

"We look forward to master planning and design as this long-term process moves forward and will be sure to continue balancing our future needs with our current responsibilities to our residents,” Rayapati said. 

In a subsequent press conference held on Friday, Sept. 23, Vitas elaborated on the purchase, saying that it's the start of a new chapter.

"It's a very momentous occasion for the City because it's the continuation of what started over 30 years ago," he said. "With the redevelopment of the downtown riverfront -- from the days when the old plow factories and all the John Deere facilities and the other facilities stood along the river's edge."

When it comes to what the purchase means for downtown, Vitas said officials hope redevelopment will bring new people and businesses to reinvigorate the area,

"We have several goals for downtown: reintroducing residential, so that it would attract younger people to come into the city and live downtown to reinvigorate it," Vitas said. "Another one of the goals is a part of our downtown redevelopment. The other part is to stabilize our commercial retailers who are still downtown and attract additional retailers as a part of that residential growth. You need people on the ground, as they say, people in boots moving around; I always like to say 'they've got a purse on their shoulder, got a wallet in their back pocket, and they're spending money on it, living it and reinvigorating it.'"

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