A year after the fire downtown, what’s to be done with the Hanley Furniture lot?

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Almost a year after a fire destroyed the old Hanley Furniture building in downtown Rockford, the property owner is considering what to do with the space.

The building itself was demolished after it was deemed to be unsafe, but the developer, Urban Equity Properties still wants to put something there. They’ll pitch their ideas at Monday’s City Council meeting.

The plan right now is to redevelop the empty lot to construct a mulit-use building, which includes two storefronts on the first floor, and 33 apartment units on the second and third floors.

The proposed plan would cost $5 million.

Rockford’s Planning and Development Chairman, Alderman Tim Durkee (1st Ward) says Urban Equity will use TIF funds for the plan, which means the TIF district the property will reside in will allocate funds to help with the financing of the project.

While the price appears steep for an empty lot, Alderman Durkee says it will benefit the city in the long run.

“The good thing that Urban Equity has done downtown is they’re continuing to create a 24/7 population downtown, which is critical for downtown’s redevelopment,” Alderman Durkee said.

Alderman Durkee adds that having living spaces in downtown can help expand the foot traffic for a part of the city that needs redevelopment attention.

If the Planning Committee approves the plans, then it will go before the full council for a vote.

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