402 E. 4th Street
Total Investment: $7 million
Public Funds: $842,443 in state investment tax credits and sales and utility tax rebates
Private Funds Leveraged: $6 million
New Housing Units: 45
The second-largest, and arguably highest-profile and most visible of Davenport’s Warehouse District buildings, is at long last undergoing a massive renovation, adding 45 more apartments to the burgeoning residential neighborhood on downtown’s eastern edge.
The project is another by developer Joe Erenberger and partners Y&J Properties, who recently renovated the Peterson Paper Company building on 2nd Street.
Like the Peterson building, the Halligan Coffee Company Building – constructed in 1907 – was long under-utilized for commercial purposes and was falling into serious disrepair. But the bones of a fantastic building are still evident, from the tall multi-hung sash sets and brick arches, vast 22-foot ceilings, carved stone decorative panes in the building entrance to the stained kiln bricks on the upper floors where coffee was roasted.
Erenberger said converting the 60,000 square-foot, century-old Classical Revival Style factory and office building into a modern loft apartment complex is among his most challenging and ambitious projects yet. But the work he’s done downtown so far has led him to learn a lot.
“We’re moving faster than we ever have before,” he said, adding that leasing could begin in as little as seven months from now. The building will feature seven units per floor – with one, two and three bedroom configurations – and will range in price from $900 to $1,500 per month. All units are market rate. They will also include cable, internet and access to public gathering areas inside and outside as part of the rent. He expects the building to be attractive to young professionals, corporate transplants and empty nesters alike.
One of the other unique challenges to the project has been cleaning up and improving the exterior of the property – both on the building itself and the surrounding lot. Erenberger partnered with the YMCA – which owns the adjacent land to the east of the building – to clear out dozens of invasive trees, weeds and other unwanted plants. In addition to tuck pointing brick and re-painting the historic commercial messages on the outside of the building, he plans on turning the concrete-heavy lot to the southeast of the building into a park-like public area. The outside space is challenging because it once served as the footings of a railroad spur servicing the Warehouse District.
Erenberger said he’s enjoyed learning about the history of the Halligan building – and the regional coffee company that was a big part of Davenport’s early development – as work has progressed. The company was begun by Thomas Halligan and partners in 1884 and quickly expanded as a distributor of coffee, tea, spices and other food stuffs throughout the upper Midwest. The company grew to more than 100 employees by the early 20th century, necessitating the building of the Halligan Coffee Company Building in 1907. The company ceased operations in 1952 due to global competition from larger distributors.
There will be quite a few nods to the coffee company’s history throughout the building, including the possibility of a commercial connection at some point, Erenberger hinted.
The Halligan Coffee Company Building circa 1935