City talks deal for apartments at crumbling Newcomb

The City Council will enter into conversations with a possible new developer of the Newcomb Hotel.

The council agreed Monday to begin negotiations with Cedar Rapids, Iowa developer Frantz-Hobart Community Investors on an $8 million investment that would see commercial property and apartments developed at the long-vacant hotel.

The includes tax incentives through city and federal programs including funding from Quincy's tax increment financing district, a sales-tax exemption on building materials and an Illinois historic preservation tax credit.

Frantz-Hobart's proposal for the 125-year-old hotel at 400 Maine Street would see the first floor converted into commercial space with the second through fifth floors converted into 48 apartments. The 120-room hotel has been vacant for close to three decades. A portion of the building that would be demolished during Frantz-Hobart's proposed renovation collapsed during torrential spring rain storms.

In June, the city began seeking proposals from developers.

It received two proposals including the Frantz-Hobart plan and another from Double Diamond LLC in Crystal City, Mo. Double Diamond sought low-incoming housing tax credits, a proposal the council ultimately rejected.

"The council felt that the market-rate project, the track record of Hobart and the projects they've done in other communities was the route that it wanted to take," Quincy City Planning and Development Director Chuck Bevelheimer said.

The City Council would have to approve any future deals with Frantz-Hobart.

Negotiations are expected to take place between October and December. If approved, construction would begin in spring 2014 with a tentative completion date of mid-2015. Bevelheimer stressed that those dates are estimates and could change at any time.

The city last month began foreclosure proceedings against building owner Victor Horowitz of Newcomb Realty LLC. Horowitz failed to repay a $500,000 loan he received from the city's revolving loan committee. The city also took legal action against the company over the state of the dilapidated building.