The award-winning Alexander Company of Madison, Wisconsin, has added another honor to its resume – this time being honored for its adaptive reuse of 5th Street Lofts in Davenport, Iowa. The State Historical Society of Iowa presented 5th Street Lofts with the Margaret Keyes Historic Preservation Award for the outstanding preservation of the Sieg Iron Company headquarters.
Welcoming residential tenants since September 15, 2014, the renovation of the historic Sieg Iron Company in downtown Davenport was the fifth and final piece of The Alexander Company’s $42 million master plan for the Historic Crescent Warehouse District, ultimately providing downtown Davenport with 255 apartments.
The diverse community created by The Crescent District Master Development, which includes 5th Street Lofts, has been a resounding success. All phases have waiting lists and have attracted other developers to the area for new historic preservation projects that will aim to replicate the development’s success.
As stated by former Davenport Alderman Gene Meeker, before The Alexander Company’s involvement the Crescent Warehouse District was a “total, total disgrace” and an unwelcome, unpleasant area that was to be avoided. Many were skeptical that downtown loft housing would succeed.
Buildings were largely vacant and on the verge of condemnation – failing bricks and concrete falling on sidewalks. The area was rife with broken streetlights and windows. Sidewalks were nearly impossible to navigate and infrastructure was failing.
In spite of that, the promise of a new day for the district created excitement and the development project persevered. Upon opening its doors, 70% of the units were already spoken for.
Former Mayor Bill Gluba gave special credit to The Alexander Company for being the pioneer of downtown Davenport housing projects, spurring other major efforts to renovate historic buildings into housing units. What was formerly an abandoned wasteland of vacant and underused buildings, rampant with crime and thought of as an area to avoid, is not a thriving residential neighborhood with walkable streetscapes.