$70M Amerock project approved by committee, council vote expected next week

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.