Davenport movie theater plan gets $600K from state

This rendering shows the Last Picture House at the corner of Second and Iowa streets in Davenport. The startup project has been selected to receive a $600,000 state grant through Destination Iowa. CREDIT IOWA ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY

A new movie theater planned for downtown Davenport. The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch, Iowa. A park and new Discovery Center. New biking/mountain biking areas.

What do these projects all have in common? They have been selected to receive state grant money. The Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) recently announced that $14.1 million in grant funding for four projects through Destination Iowa.

The planned project in Davenport to be called the Last Picture House – located at Second and Iowa streets –  is receiving $600,000 in state funding to support the $3.72 million project. The project is being put together by local filmmakers Scott Beck and Bryan Woods, under the name Cinema Paradiso, LLC.

The filmmakers, both Bettendorf High School graduates, co-wrote the 2018 smash hit horror film “A Quiet Place.”

Their plans call for a new two-screen movie theater near the city’s Bechtel Park. It will be the home of first-run movies and independent films and exclusive events. The space will also include a social lounge, cocktail bar, and a rooftop bar.

The downtown Davenport building is 8,700 square feet and has been vacant since 2019. It was last used as a garage by the Downtown Davenport Partnership, an affiliate of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

The Last Picture House project could be complete by next summer. 

“With connections to Hollywood, the movie theater will be the home of exclusive events featuring actors alongside local filmmakers and film screenings. The award represents 16% of the total project investment of $3,719,075,” according to information from IEDA.

The other three projects selected for grants through Destination Iowa include:

  • The Hoover Presidential Foundation has been awarded $5 million toward an overhaul of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum in West Branch and the addition of 2,250 square feet of updated and interactive displays. The redesign and renovation will modernize the visitor experience, taking guests on a journey of learning about Iowa’s only U.S. president and his wife, First Lady Lou Henry Hoover. The award represents 25% of the total project investment of $20,309,426. 
  • The Webster County Conservation Board and the City of Fort Dodge have been awarded $4 million toward the Central River District Park and Discovery Center. The center will offer meeting spaces, indoor and outdoor classrooms, a large interpretive area, and a scenic overlook with views of the Des Moines River. The award represents 17% of the total project investment of $19,906,495, which also includes a 1.3-acre stormwater treatment wetland and in-stream recreational features such as a whitewater drop, fishing pools and access points. 
  • The City of Mason City and Cerro Gordo County have been awarded $4.5 million toward several projects that will enhance the area as a biking/mountain biking destination. These components include new single-track trails, a new bike park and pump track, and key connectors in the North Iowa trails system. The award represents 40% of the total project investment of $11,873,265 and will also play a key role in providing direct access to all trails, adding trailside amenities, and adding improvements to the Ingebretson Campground. 

IEDA began accepting applications for Destination Iowa funding on May 9 and will continue to review applications through Dec. 31 or until funding runs out.  Applications are scored based on eligibility, completeness, and the project’s ability to meet the program goal of creating transformational tourism attractions.

Cities, counties, nonprofits and other organizations can apply for Destination Iowa grants through four separate funds: Economically Significant Development, Outdoor Recreation, Tourism Attraction, and Creative Placemaking.  

Funded projects must be completed by June 30, 2026. For more information on the Destination Iowa program, visit iowaeda.com/destination-iowa/. Funding for the program is being made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act.  

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