By Mike Buda, May 14, 2015
ROCKFORD (WIFR) — Major developments surround Rockford’s downtown Amerock building. Wisconsin-based developer Gorman and Company tells 23 News that they have received preliminary confirmation the chain will be the franchise for the Amerock project.
Gorman Illinois Market President, André Blakley, says it’s an exciting time to be in Rockford.
Construction is about to begin on Rockford’s former Amerock building, a structure that’s sat empty for more than two decades.
“We think this will be a significant development,” said Blakley. “Significant in terms of jobs, significant in terms of just reactivating this area and revitalizing the downtown district.”
Amerock is not the only thing being re-used and revitalized. As a part of an agreement with Gorman, Rockford is looking at ways to update neighboring Davis Park by complimenting its surrounding buildings.
“It was designed to be a festival park,” said David Sidney, Rockford’s Comprehensive Planning and Design Manager. “We’re trying to assess whether that still makes sense to go forward and how to make it more active in light of the hotel and conference center and all of the other development happening around it.”
Rockford aldermen still need to approve the updated contract with Gorman. It would provide set deadlines for specific parts of the project to be completed.
“We certainly appreciate the stewardship of our council on these issues in making certain that they test these ideas and make certain that the city’s interests are well taken care of,” said Rockford’s Legal Director Patrick Hayes. “We’re excited to be able to continue to present opportunities for this project to move forward.”
Blakley says by the time the new 160 room Amerock Hilton opens up in early 2017, downtown Rockford should be booming once again.
Gorman says they will be closing on the property in the next week or so and should have their finances approved by September.
Hayes says that on the off-chance that Gorman does not get the money, the developer would have the option to sell the building back.