Two new hotels are coming to Davenport.

Heart of America Group, based in Moline, hopes to break ground next week on a Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott off Elmore Avenue, and a Springhill Suites is planned for 3750 Market Square Circle off of Utica Ridge Road.

The latter will be a four-story, 96-room building developed by Swift Hospitality of Freeport, Ill. Swift is a family-owned business engaged in development and management.

The Fairfield Inn and Suites, to be located between Great Escapes and Furniture Row at 4401 Elmore Ave., will be five stories with 108 rooms.

The hotel will be the second-to-last building in the Heart of America development called Elmore Marketplace that began in 2013, Kirk Whalen, vice president of the Moline-based company, said.

Other buildings in the development include the Holiday Inn & Suites with J Bar, DSW, Pier 1 Imports, Lane Bryant and HomeGoods.

When the Fairfield is finished, there will be room for one more 7,000 square-foot business, possibly a restaurant, although “not necessarily one of ours,” Whalen said.

Then, “that would do it,” he said. “It (Elmore Marketplace) would be fully built out.”

Asked about the proliferation of hotels in the Quad-Cities, including the new Hyatt Place in East Moline, Whalen said “studies have shown that many guests are loyal to their brands,” and the Quad-Cities no longer has a Fairfield.

Heart of America owns restaurants, hotels and commercial developments throughout the Midwest. Quad-City restaurants include the Machine Shed, Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse and Thunder Bay Grille.

A previous Fairfield along Spruce Hills Drive is now a different brand. “This Fairfield is a replacement,” he said.

In addition, the Quad-City area has a lot of “leakage” to areas such as Naperville and Peoria, he said. By that he means people coming to the Quad-Cities for business or just traveling through choose to stay in one of those Illinois cities because they have newer hotels or different brands than the Q-C.

“We’re not just splitting the pie, we’re bringing more in,” Whalen said. “It’s a proliferation of a lot of the different flags (brands), all a little bit of a niche. We’re helping to grow the Quad-City market, to be a stop of choice.”

Heart of America is appearing today (Thursday) before the city’s Zoning Board of Adjustment for two variances, one for the height of the hotel and the other for the number of parking spaces.

When the hotel was designed, it fell within the city’s commercial height and parking lot requirements, but when the entire zoning code was revised earlier this year, it fell out of compliance, Whalen explained.

The city council gave first reading to an ordinance Wednesday night that would relax some of the new requirements, including height and parking, but Whalen said his company does not want to wait for changes to go through three readings. With variances granted, a building permit could be issued for construction to begin as early as next week, he said.

The hotel is planned for 58 feet in height; the new ordinance sets the height limit at 50 feet. By comparison, the existing Holiday Inn & Suites is 80 feet in height, Whalen said.

The new parking requirement calls for 1½ spots per room; Heart of America wants to scale that back to 1 spot per room, or 118 parking spots.

Whalen said parking needs for hotels have dropped “dramatically” in the past 20 years because of driver services such as Uber. “Twenty years ago I would have said one stall to one room was absolutely need, but not anymore.”.

Article By: Alma Gaul – QCTimes

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