ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – Finding the right resident for your property is kind of like dating. You want to showcase your best qualities, while weaving in the not-so-attractive flaws and shortcomings to which we all have some variance.
These are things we know we cannot hide (nor should we), and expect to be detractors to those looking for their perfect match. What we don’t take into account is the very real prospect that the things we see as negatives are what others most prize and desire. It just takes time, patience and persistence for the right one to come along and know you are “the one.”
Col. Todd Allison is also in search of “the one.” As the garrison commander of Rock Island Arsenal, he’s trying to find the perfect occupants to enter an Enhanced Use Lease for the Arsenal’s famous Historic Quarters 1, the RIA Golf course and club. He knows it will take a special person to see the potential of this package, but is confident the perfect match is out there. That is genesis of the upcoming virtual Industry Day EUL event May 26, 2021 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST.
The Industry Day Event is an opportunity for the Arsenal to highlight investment opportunities available to private investors looking to begin or expand their partnership with the U.S. Government. In this particular case, the government currently is seeking to lease available space is comprised of a Golf Course, Clubhouse (31,702 sq. ft.), the historic Quarters 1 Building (23,194 sq. ft.), and all associated structures.
Those are the facts that are pertinent to the fiscal aspect of the proposal, but what’s at the heart of this effort is preserving the history of not only the Arsenal, but the Quad Cities, as well, according to Allison.
“I truly believe you cannot study the history of our nation, and our Army, without studying the significance and importance the Arsenal throughout our Nation’s history,” he said. “The Arsenal has not only been a significant contribution to our Nation’s history – it has been a unique and important gathering place for both the U.S. Military and the community.”
Standing watch over the mighty Mississippi River, historic Quarters 1, built in 1871, is a stately home and the second largest federal residence, the White House being the largest. At 51 rooms and sweeping views along the riverfront, the home is stunning example of Italianate architectural style. Those having graced the rooms of the home include Charles Lindbergh and King Carl XVI Gustav and Queen Silvia of Sweden, among countless notable military generals until it was formally closed as an official residence in 2008.
Since its closure as an official residence, it has been a memorable part countless events marking the lives of those living on the Arsenal and in surrounding communities. It has been the setting for weddings, birthdays, and retirements, each leaving a distinctive mark on the hearts of those who have celebrated beneath its chandeliers. It is this that drives Allison to ensure the potential lease holder shares the same appreciation for the historical importance the home holds.
From the Italian marble fireplaces to the cast iron columns, this structure has good bones and the potential to be a showplace, with original hand-crafted details too numerous to list. But, like all historic homes, it needs work. While that can come at a hefty price tag, there are benefits investors should consider when weighing the cost benefits taking on an historic structure, to include cost saving and sustainability.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, repurposing old buildings, particularly those that are vacant, reduces the need for construction of new buildings and the consumption of land, energy, materials, and financial resources that they require, which is critical for the limited space for construction on the Arsenal.
Additional benefits of making the choice to preserve existing structure instead of moving forward with new builds are being socially and ecologically responsible, which includes a wide array of concerns from sustainability and climate change to economic diversification and community equity.
The National Historic Trust for Preservation says sustainability has come to mean more than simply being environmentally responsible and comes with efforts supporting national initiatives of community equity and climate change.
“Older buildings and blocks are a key component to creating successful cities and neighborhoods – historic fabric creates economically vital, socially equitable, and strong, resilient neighborhoods,” according to the NHSP’s Preservation Leadership Forum.
A strong economy is good thing for everyone, and preserving historic buildings is one way to draw visitors to your local area, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society.
“One of the most rapidly growing segments of the tourism industry is heritage tourism, which focuses on historic areas and sites,” says leaders at the WHS. “Heritage tourists are those who wish to experience the places, artifacts and activities that authentically represent the stories and people of the past and present. A community that accentuates its particular historic character and identity attracts visitors seeking an experience they cannot find elsewhere. Studies have shown that heritage tourists tend to visit longer and spend more money than other types of tourists, bringing economic benefits to the merchants in the communities they visit.”
Going hand-in-hand with the economic boost is job creation. Although new construction is often viewed as an indication of economic health, the rehabilitation of existing buildings actually creates thousands of construction jobs annually, reports WHS. According to statistics and estimates from the National Parks, every $55,000 spent on rehabilitation equates with one job.
“Historic preservation creates more jobs for the dollar than new construction,” according to WHS. “In a typical new construction project, about half of the expenditures are for labor and half for materials. In a rehabilitation project, it is more typical that 60% to 70% of expenses will go toward labor costs. The money you spend on local labor for your rehabilitation project will stay in your community.”
At the end of the day, community is what it’s all about, said Allison, and preserving of the strong historic ties the Arsenal shares with its Quad Cities neighbors. While COVID-19 has had an impact on the day-to-day access to the Arsenal, things are changing each day and the “The Rock,” as the Arsenal is affectionately known, is looking forward welcoming more of its neighbors as pandemic recovery continues and allows for more community engagement.
“Historic Quarters One and the Historic Golf Club and Course contribute significantly to the uniqueness of the Arsenal and the rich history of Arsenal Island, serving as a wonderful place for gathering, enjoying each other’s company and partaking in recreation,” he said. “Whether it is enjoying the historical artifacts of the Island from one of the many historical periods, honoring our fallen at one of the oldest national cemeteries, or hiking, bicycling, hunting, fishing, we welcome our neighbors and visitors to explore all we have to offer here in the island.
“What we hope for is a partner who shares our vision and sees how critical it is for our communities to protect and preserve our shared history.”
If you wish to participate virtually, please contact Charlie Effinger for additional meeting information at 502-315-6980 or email@example.com.
Additional details at: https://beta.sam.gov/opp/fed0cc2b454440a497d0798fba171b8d/view?keywords=&sort=-modifiedDate&index=&is_active=true&page=1&fbclid=IwAR2Ak5cnu0oZnraKSB1Q4hkStpBzkws1IgYWGd3QQsV7_tWFxp29OuP8y1E
In addition, due to the virtual environment, a "House Hunters" like video is available that potential bidders can view at: https://www.dvidshub.net/.../ria-quarters-one-virtual-tour.