Officials took the first physical step towards student housing at Black Hawk College's Quad-Cities campus during a Tuesday groundbreaking.|
The college is planning a $5.7 million, 120-bed, three-story student apartment complex on land adjacent to the school's Parking Lot No. 4, north of 34th Avenue. Bluffstone LLC is the developer who will oversee construction and management of the complex.
About 30 people, including college officials, students, city staff, elected officials and representatives of Bluffstone attended the event on Tuesday.
"This is a great day for Black Hawk College and hopefully for the city of East Moline and for the Quad-Cities," Black Hawk president Thomas Baynum said
East Moline Mayor John Thodos said if this is a new chapter for Black Hawk, he's glad to be a part of it. He attended the community college before going on to St. Ambrose University.
The potential impact on recruitment and retention of students is immeasurable, Rachel Pitchford, president of the Black Hawk Student Government Association, said."Having the housing in our back yard will provide a tremendous opportunity for our students who have had to seek this amenity elsewhere."
The complex is scheduled for completion by mid-summer and is scheduled to includemailboxes, a social-recreational space, 24-hour fitness center, areas for study, a laundry, outdoor patio and other amenities, according to a Bluffstone news release.
The East Moline City Council recently approved a 10-year tax abatement for the project, which means no tax revenue for the city for the first six years and partial payments that increase incrementally for the next four, until the abatement expires. Aldermen also recently approved a zoning change for the site recommended by the city planning and zoning commission.
Before that vote, Tim Baldwin, of Bluffstone, said the city is expected to get about $90,000 in tax revenue the last four years of the abatement, with the complex generating as much as $2 million in revenue for the city during the life of Bluffstone's contract with Black Hawk's campus foundation.
The contract is between the developer and the foundation because state law prohibits a community college from directly owning or operating housing. In late February, Black Hawk trustees transferred the site to the foundation.
Initially, the complex was to be built west of Building 3, below the parking lot south of 34th Avenue and north of the baseball diamond and college track, a site in Moline's borders.
Bluffstone also asked Moline for the tax rebate, and the city council approved a smaller rebate than was requested, so Bluffstone switched to a nearby East Moline site.
Mr. Baynum has said Bluffstone needs the rebate because the housing would be too costly for students otherwise.
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