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By Dean Berry, Rockford Record American, April 1, 2014

The Rockford City Council’s Planning and Development Committee, on Monday, voted 3-1 to approve the development agreement between the city and Gorman & Co., to turn the former Amerock building into a skyrise luxury hotel and conference center.

Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly, D-7, voted against the $70 million project.

Under the agreement, Gorman & Co., of Milwaukee, Wis., would invest $50 million, transforming the Amerock Building, also known as the Ziock building, into a highrise hotel, at 416 S. Main St., along the Rock River. The facility is expected to be a linchpin of downtown commerce when the city turns the former Ingersoll property into a 104,000-square-foot indoor sports complex at 301-401 S. Madison St.

The Amerock redevelopment would include $20 million from the city’s motor fuel tax to build a parking deck and make improvements along South Main and Chestnut streets.

The agreement was read into the council’s agenda Monday by Ald. Tim Durkee, R-1. It will be up for a full council vote next week.

In other business, the city will spend $256,000 from its health care fund to convert the former Fran Kral Lincoln-Mercury building into a wellness center for city employees and their families. The building was initially slated to be a police precinct until the city voted to look for another location. The plan to redevelop the Fran Kral building passed 10-4.