By Jeff Kolkey, Rockford Register Star
ROCKFORD — Construction workers were already removing lead paint from the former Amerock factory as years of work culminated this week with the closing of a series loans and investments that will finance the project.
Gorman & Company CEO Gary Gorman said that where a downtown eyesore currently stands, Rockford will have a $64 million Hilton Embassy Suites and $12.5 million Rockford Conference Center when construction is complete.
“The hotel and conference center represent a true public-private partnership,” Gorman said. “One could not have been done without the other, and many people pushed through five years of hard work to make it happen.”
The project promises to generate 123 permanent hotel jobs, 553 construction jobs and millions in economic activity.
Gorman said this is his 34th historic rehabilitation project. He had an American flag planted last week atop the former Amerock building to signal that the project is moving forward.
In addition to removing lead paint from the structure, asbestos remediation also must be done as part of Gorman’s plans to remodel the building into a four-star hotel.
The 160-room hotel will overlook the Rock River and include a rooftop lounge, first-floor restaurant, bar with outdoor patio, swimming pool, fitness center, business center and other amenities.
“This is a major turning point for our downtown,” Mayor Tom McNamara said in a news release.