Diocese to Sell Three Davenport Properties

By Dustin Lemmon
Quad-City Times [Davenport IA]
February 20, 2007

The Diocese of Davenport is preparing to sell three Davenport properties as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and has filed a motion with the court to hire local real estate agents.

The motion filed Friday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Iowa, lists the real estate as the bishop's house at 2761 Scott St., a single-family house at 803 E. 39th St. and a 25-acre farm at 3718 Telegraph Road.

Deacon David Montgomery said the three properties and the chancery at 2706 N. Gaines St. will all be sold. The chancery, which has an assessed value of more than $2 million, was not named in the recent motion, and Montgomery is not sure why or when it will be placed on the market.

"We know it's going to be included," he said.

Each property was previously identified in the bankruptcy the diocese filed in October. The companies the diocese plans to hire are Mel Foster Co. Inc., Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors Inc. and Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.

According to the motion, the diocese has owned the properties for several years and no longer has any use for them.

Montgomery said Bishop Martin Amos, who came to the diocese in November, moved into the house at 2761 Scott St. briefly before moving out because of the pending sale. Amos is now renting a home in Davenport.

The two-story bishop's house built in 1930 has an assessed value of $196,260, according to county records. The home, which will be sold by Ruhl & Ruhl Realtors, includes four bedrooms, a jacuzzi, fire place, a detached garage and concrete patio.

Mel Foster Co. will sell the three-bedroom home on East 39th Street. It has an assessed value of $81,740 and was built in 1900, county records state. Montgomery said the house was part of a nearby cemetery, and an elderly woman had been living there.

The farm at 3718 Telegraph Road will be sold by Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co. According to documents filed in court, the recommended listing price from Ruhl is $13,000 per acre, which would draw $331,500 total. The low estimate is $250,000.

John G. Ruhl said he has already received 10 to 15 calls about the farm, which would likely be used as a large property by a single user or as a small residential subdivision.

"The Telegraph Road site, there has been a lot of interest in," Ruhl said. "We're anxious to get the ball rolling and get it on the market."

The property includes a home, barn and outbuilding, which would likely be demolished by a developer, court documents state. The home is in "slightly less than average condition" and the outbuilding and barn are in poor condition, court records report.

The property, which is zoned single-family residential, has city water service, but it was unclear if it has sewer service, according to a report that John G. Ruhl sent to Char Maaske, the diocese chief financial officer.

The letter also said the surrounding neighborhoods, which include an older trailer park across the street, have houses in poor condition, but the proximity to a central business district in a rural setting would be attractive to potential buyers.

"The property location is somewhat difficult based on some of the surrounding properties," the report states.

Ruhl said dealing with a church that's selling property because of bankruptcy is no different from working with an individual property owner or business.

"It operates just the same," he said. "They have to look to us for a value. What we gave them was based on market details."

The diocese will have to receive court approval before completing any sale.

Montgomery said the process of hiring real estate agents and making other preparations has been challenging for the diocese.

"It's just trying to get everything done to comply with what the court is wanting," he said. "We're just making our way through the process."

Dustin Lemmon can be contacted at (563) 383-2493 or


The Diocese of Davenport filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of Iowa, in October. The diocese includes more than 100,000 Roman Catholics, 84 parishes, 15 parish-related elementary schools and seven middle and high schools. The diocese of Davenport property to go on sale includes:

803 E. 39th St., assessed value $81,740

2761 Scott St., assessed value $196,260

3718 Telegraph Road, estimated value by Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co. $331,500


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