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Posted on: August 16, 2023

Design firm chosen for I-74/Riverfront masterplan

I-74 realignment zone map

A design firm that has created some of the most stunning riverfront developments in the United States – including the Sciotto Mile in Columbus, Ohio and the District Wharf Promenade in Washington, D.C. – has been chosen as Moline’s partner for designing and developing more than 13 acres of prime Mississippi Riverfront.

MKSK, a landscape architecture and design firm headquartered in Columbus but with design studios in a dozen other cities, was selected from a list of 18 firms that responded to a request for expressions of interest to take on the ambitious Moline masterplan. Moline will work with designers from MKSK’s Chicago studio, said Renew Moline President & CEO Alexandra Elias, who has been working on the project for several years. 

“The caliber of firms we had proposing was extremely impressive,” Elias said. “These are world-class design firms that do projects people would recognize. It truly allowed us to pick among the best in the nation.”

MKSK was the pick of a panel made up of multiple Moline department directors, the city administrator and members of the Renew board. City Council is scheduled to vote on an agreement with MKSK at its Aug. 22 meeting.

Elias said it was MKSK’s track record of designing projects that reflect the unique characteristics of the communities in which it works that stood out.

“We liked that their projects are geared toward the places they’re in and are not just cookie cutter,” she said. “They look at what matters to the people in the community and tailor the projects to that vision.”

City Administrator Bob Vitas said with such a massive redevelopment area, the majority of which is made up of city-owned property, it is critically important to get the right plan in place. 

 “This is our one chance to get it right and we selected the firm we believe will do it right,” he said. “This is a multi-generational project. We want this to become an active, beloved public space that is for everyone. It is ambitious and we meant for it to be ambitious.”

MKSK also spoke to the importance of making a “splash” with the first of what is likely to be many smaller projects within the overall masterplan. Already, a new skate park and pump track is in the works underneath the new I-74 bridge. The future use of other landmarks such as the Kone Tower, Spiegel Building and BridgePointe 485 all must also be determined.

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