By Kevin Haas, Rockford Register Star, Mar. 17, 2014
ROCKFORD — Aldermen want to know what infrastructure improvements and other capital projects they may have to sacrifice to help redevelop the city’s first skyscraper into a hotel and convention center.
Wisconsin-based Gorman & Co., an architectural firm that specializes in reusing historic buildings, wants to undertake a $52.7 million transformation of the 13-story former industrial manufacturing facility at 416 S. Main St. The century-old Ziock building, also known as the Amerock building, would become a 150-room hotel complex and about 20,000 square-foot conference center if the city agrees to share responsibility for redeveloping the area around the building.
A proposed development agreement was delayed Monday by aldermen in the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee. They asked city staff for more details on how financing the redevelopment plan will affect future capital improvements.
Part of the agreement requires the city to construct a 500-space parking deck and a surface parking lot by October 2016. It must also address several traffic-flow issues, including converting South Main Street into a two-way between Cedar and State streets. There are also improvements required to enhance Davis Park and make the Chestnut Street bridge more pedestrian friendly for visitors who walk from the hotel to the proposed downtown sports complex.
“I can vote for it in 2014, but when it’s time to pay up in 2016 I want to know where the money’s coming from,” Ald. Ann Thompson-Kelly said. “Right now, it looks like the aldermen better be very much aware that they’re going to have to give up some streets.”
The city’s capital improvement plan has monies set aside for downtown parking and traffic improvements. It would also look to obtain new market tax credits and use parking fees to help pay for the upgrades. The proposal will go back before the City Council committee next week.