Take a long-standing brick building with lots of character and charm. Add a healthy dose of contemporary styling and you've got a great place to live in downtown Rock Island, an economically and socially diverse community in northwestern Illinois. The lofts are located in the center of a vibrant neighborhood near artists' galleries and studios, restaurants, a brew pub, coffee shops, nightclubs, a comedy club, a botanical center, a dinner theatre, unique shops and a hotel. Located at 100 19th Street, the McKesson Lofts, a $6.6 million project, offers 17,000-sq. ft. of commercial space on the first floor, 10 condos on the second floor and 12 on the third. Amenities include a green roof, underground parking and 25 green characteristics. With an average area of 1,200 sq. ft., the condos cost between $129,900 and $249,000 for the penthouse, with an average price of $175,000.

This project represents just one endeavor of the Rock Island Economic Growth Corporation (GROWTH), which works under the multi-faceted Renaissance Rock Island program. GROWTH is locally responsible for housing, neighborhood and community marketing programs. Many of its housing programs have become national models. Locally, GROWTH has served as a catalyst to help spur the commitment and investment of many public and private partners.

As a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), GROWTH has worked to leverage more than $83 million in local investment in its mixed-income/mixed-use and single-family-homebuyer programs in Rock Island. GROWTH has earned a healthy reputation as a trendsetter in creating and implementing cutting-edge housing programs.

The impact of these activities on Rock Island has been phenomenal. To date, GROWTH has developed 150 units of loft housing in downtown Rock Island. When the private sector was unwilling or unable to develop upper story housing, GROWTH stepped in to locate funding, which created fabulous new living spaces and new neighborhoods. GROWTH is regarded as a local and national leader in developing innovative and attainable housing opportunities, as it convenes and facilitates work among various community partners.