Reinventing Moline

April 1, 2001
Caxton Block Building, Moline, Il
Broken-down and dingy: Hardly attractive words for a building that has become the anchor of a development project designed to breathe new life into the Bass Street Landing area of Moline, IL. Once an industrial section of Moline, Bass Street Landing has plans under way for becoming a multi-tenant district of a city with a very promising future. The Caxton Block Building, whose anchor tenant just happens to have been the project’s designer, is a perfect example of using existing elements to create sleek, beautiful office space.

Sparked by the enthusiasm of the Renew Moline Group task force to rejuvenate the city of Moline, Kaizen Co. – a partnership of owner/developer Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co. and contractor Estes Co., both natives of Davenport, IA – moved ahead to redevelop this section of Moline.
“It’s a good partnership, and we’re looking forward to breaking ground on additional phases of this redevelopment project,” says Chuck Ruhl Jr., president and CEO of Ruhl & Ruhl.

Speaking specifically about the renovation to the Caxton Block Building, Ruhl attributes the architectural and design success to the anchor tenant and project designer, Shive-Hattery. “[Shive-Hattery] took what was previously a terrific eyesore and designed an attractive, functional, and structurally sound commercial office building,” notes Ruhl.
“I know that people thought we were crazy when we first put up the sign that said, ‘Future home of Shive-Hattery,’” says Myron Scheibe, vice president of the Moline, IL-based company. “The building was in such a state of disrepair that I think most people thought it should have been demolished. We saw a real opportunity to create something special.”Special seemed next to impossible pre-modernization. Sections of the exterior’s brick façade had sustained severe water damage over the years. The lintels, in particular, had deteriorated to such a degree that they had to be completely disassembled, cleaned, and, where possible, reused and tuckpointed or replaced with new brick. However, once the project was under way, the roof line was accentuated via a peaked brick façade and entrance canopy to the first-floor elevator lobby. Additionally, energy-efficient custom windows, reminiscent of the original windows, were designed to support the historical integrity of the building.Inside the Caxton Block Building, Scheibe, in concert with Kent Pilcher, owner/contractor of Estes Co., worked to revive the untouched original brick, expose the raftered 14-foot ceilings, and retain existing fire doors (although they are not operational). New plumbing, electrical, lighting, and communications systems were also added to meet today’s building requirements.“This is the type of project we deal with almost exclusively,” says Pilcher. “I agree with Myron when he said that many people thought that we were crazy to want to bring this building back to life. The thing is that we are used to looking at this type of project and seeing the possibilities, the potential.” Perhaps one of the most interesting elements of the space is a two-story, 45-foot glass atrium that provides natural light to an area that had previously been an interior void space. Bathed in sunlight, the newly added second-floor atrium acts as an informal gathering space where employees discuss projects and review plans.THE MODERNIZATION TEAMArchitect/Designer/
Shive-Hattery Inc.

Owner/Developer: Kaizen Co. of America LC
Contractor: Estes Co.
PRODUCTS USEDBuilding Automation: KMC
Ceilings: Armstrong
Doors: Graham
Electrical/Electronic Distribution: Square-D
Elevators/Escalators: KONE
Floorcoverings: Armstrong; Dal-Tile; Durkan; Mannington
Furniture: Herman Miller; Knoll
Hardware: Best; Sargent
HVAC: Carrier; Reliable
Life-Safety/Security: Siemens/Cerberus
Lighting: Prudential
Paint: Sherwin-Williams
Plumbing: Kohler
Roofing: GAF
Wallcoverings: MDC Wallcoverings
Walls/Partitions: Gold Bond
Windows: Time Industries
Lists are not all-inclusive
In keeping with the contemporary theme of the space, the 14-foot exposed ceilings were painted off-white for maximum reflection from the perforated upturned lighting fixtures. This type of lighting works well in an open office environment where the furniture system is capped with stackable privacy screens that filter sound and allow light to be more evenly distributed throughout the space. Curved walls and suspended drywall ceiling “clouds” add yet more character to an otherwise square environment by casually breaking up sight lines and eliminating sharp corners.Other dynamics of the building include a selection of meeting/conference rooms that range from a very formal, boardroom-style space to a much more informal living room-style conversational area. Natural maple veneer, patterned opaque glass panels, and subtle shades of eggplant and moss green are interwoven in the wallcoverings and chenille and suede seating fabrics. Chrome accents in ambient light fixtures, furniture detail, and accessories pull together for a monochromatic effect that mixes good taste with modern contemporary styling.The old adage “out with the old and in with the new” has taken on a whole new perspective in the form of the Caxton Block Building. To all those involved with the project, the attitude was very much, “in with the old to enhance the appeal of the new.” Perhaps we have yet to see how this team will use its vision in further redefining Moline’s Bass Street Landing.Nonetheless, the Caxton Block Building stands on its own as a winner. Other plans for the Bass Street Landing redevelopment include:A warehouse to the north of the Caxton Block Building will become a 30,000-square-foot, single-tenant building.An additional 40,000-square-foot warehouse will be demolished and replaced with a residential condominium development designed as a Brownstone Chicago-style townhouse.A building next to a new boathouse on the riverfront is the new home of the rowing club.A new, three-story Galleria building will be built on land that the city owns and will lease to Kaizen Co. The approximately 65,000-square-foot facility will include first-floor retail, office space on the second floor, and residential apartments on the third floor.A high-rise residential building will be located adjacent to the Galleria building with a new park in between.Clara M.W. Vangen ([email protected]) is technologies editor at Buildings magazine.

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