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Opposite Directions: BMO Unveiled $5M Renovation; Hanley Condemned

One step forward, two steps back. The unveiling of a brighter and more entertaining BMO Harris Bank Center following a $5 million renovation project is overshadowed this week by the condemnation of the Hanley Furniture Building just across the street.
It’s a beautiful building from the exterior. It's a shame.
ROCKFORD (WTVO) -- No one would want a phone call like the one that a Rockford alderman received from someone who works next to the Hanley Building.

"I got a call from a lady that works at that property,” said 13th Ward Alderman Linda McNeely. “She had said that glass from one of the windows had fallen out onto the top of her car and through her car."

McNeely decided to get in her car and see for herself.

"I drove here and looked around and you could see that windows where the glass had fallen out of some of the windows and where it was nearly to fall out of some other ones."

After relaying the story to city engineers, the building was condemned. It's a sad fate for a well-known landmark in the Forest City.

"This store, this location for most Rockfordians born and raised here, they're familiar with it," says McNeely.

The condemnation comes in the shadows of the sparkling renovation of nearly $5 million just completed at the BMO Harris Bank Center this week.

"Unfortunately, I can't control what happens around us,” said Gordon Kaye, Executive Director and General Manager of the Rockford Area Venues & Entertainment Authority (RAVE). “I can only control what happens here in our facility and adjacent to our facility."

"It’s a beautiful building from the exterior,” Kaye said. “It's a shame."

What's next is uncertain, but everyone agrees the location is a selling point.

"It’s just a location where we need a property that's going to be maintained and people can make use of it,” McNeely said. “It adds to the flavor of this particular area."

"Certainly I would like to see some sort of development there,” says Kaye. “I think it would be great for downtown Rockford. I think it would be great for our facility."
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