Work to turn the downtown Rockford’s Amerock building into a hotel and conference center is just months away.
But, just 24 hours after the city council passed the development, one state senator told us the hotel won’t bring in the kind of money that the developer is promising.
“[There’s a difference between] what was promised, versus what was delivered. And I think there’s a track record there,” says Senator Dave Syverson (R) speaking about the Amerock project.
Both the city and the developer, Gorman and Company, believe the hotel and conference center will bring in a projected $750 million dollars to the area.
But, Syverson thinks that’s just the city making more empty promises.
“I think that’s part of the concern, that they’re promising numbers that just don’t seem to make sense,” said Senator Syverson. “And history would certainly back that up.”
Syverson is referring to other big money projects that were expected to generate big revenue for the city, such as the Rockford Mass Transit transfer station on Lyford Road, and the development of the downtown river walk.
“There are a lot of projects that taxpayer money was put into with the promise of a certain return, but the end result was those returns didn’t happen,” says John Groh, the President and CEO of the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
The agency has performed several studies on Amerock’s potential economic impact.
He says they all say the same thing; lots of dollar signs.
“I do think that what was promised is being delivered,” said Groh. “Sometimes that might be slower than some people might like, but ultimately, I choose to look at our community through the lens of optimism, and what is possible.”
Construction on the project could begin as early as this summer.