Fifteen percent of the nations population resides within a 300 mile radius of the Illinois Quad Cities, making it an ideal market for virtually every product and service.
The area is recognized worldwide as a major industrial and manufacturing center. Some of Americas largest corporations are headquartered and/or have facilities here: Deere & Company, 3M, Eagle Food Centers, Jewel Food Stores, Oscar Meyer, MidAmerican Energy Company, ALCOA, and Ralston Purina, to name just a few. Rock Island has 11 of the 50 largest employers in the Quad Cities; among these are the Rock Island-Milan Schools, Augustana College, Thoms Proestler Company, Jumers Casino Rock Island, Modern Woodmen of America, Ameritech, Dohrn Transfer, Trinity Medical Center, Seaford Clothing, and Norcross Safety Products.
Tourism is also big business in Rock Island. Its myriad historic, recreational, leisure, cultural and gaming amenities attract thousands of visitors each year. They spend hundred of thousands of dollars on food, lodging, services and entertainment, as well as shopping in historic downtown Rock Island. The citys dedication to renovation and restoration of the downtown, as well as the surrounding historic neighborhoods, has worked to draw visitors from throughout the Midwest.
Businesses are attracted to Rock Island for its low commercial/industrial lease rates and land costs. New office space downtown averages $9/sq. ft. and industrial space $2-6/sq. ft. Industrial land cost per acre ranges from 15,000 to 40,000 square feet. Southwest Rock Island has nearly 300 acres currently available and suitable for industrial and commercial development.
The Rock Island Depot, originally built in 1901 at 3101 5th Avenue by the Rock Island Lines Railway, served thousand of passengers and shippers until 1980. The depot was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and declared a local landmark by the Rock Island Preservation Commission in 1987. Unused, the structure fell into disrepair until the city purchased the property and building in 1994 and invested over $750,000 to renovate the depot to its original exterior design, including adding the clock tower which was removed in the 1930s. Original brick, wood trim and roof tiles were salvaged from the former adjacent freight house which was demolished in 1997. The depot is now called Abbey Station and serves as an elegant banquet center.
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