ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Details for a second hotel in downtown Rockford are finally unveiled.
Developer Joseph James Partners has been planning to bring a boutique hotel to the Millennium Center, at 220 S Madison Street, for years.
On Thursday, the company announced that the $14 million Hotel Kate will be named after activist Kate O’Connor.
“Kate O’Connor was a suffragette, a pioneering woman [who helped] establish the YWCA locally, which is what the building…originally was,” said President Peter Provenzano.
Hotel Kate is scheduled to open for business next summer.
It will feature 47 hotel rooms, a gym, pool, gardens, patio, and fitness center.
Neighbors in nearby Haight Village says they’re excited for a hotel to be built, right down the street.
“We need a hotel nearby,” said resident Shawn Ashman. “It’ll probably bring more people into Rockford, knowing that there’s a hotel and they ain’t gotta drive that far. If people are coming down here, say for an IceHogs game, or come down here for an event, it would be nice for them to be able to stay at a hotel nearby instead of having to travel down East State.”
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said the project is part of a continuing trend to improve downtown Rockford.
“You look at nearly all the developments that are taking place in our downtown. We are re-purposing and re-imagining older buildings that once were either dilapidated or under-utilized,” he said. “This is just adding to that trajectory, adding to that momentum we see in our city center.”
Provenzano said he’s not worried about competition from the Embassy Suites Hotel, at 416 S Main Street, which is scheduled to open around the same time.
“We think their hotel and our hotel are very complementary,” he said. “You go to communities, you often see a cluster of hotels, not just a single hotel. So, we’re looking forward to being great community partners with that hotel.”
Provezano also announced that Hotel Kate will donate to two charitable causes in honor of its namesake.
The first contribution supports The Women’s Suffrage Centennial 2020 Northern Illinois Celebration steering committee’s mosaic sculpture project commissioned in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment.
One of the figures represented in the sculpture will be Kate O’Connor in honor of her pioneering contributions to the women’s suffrage movement.
Provenzano announced a donation of $5,000 towards the group’s fundraising efforts.
Additionally, Hotel Kate will support to the Rockford Public Library’s Career Online High School, an online high school completion program for adults seeking to complete their high school diploma.
Hotel Kate has already supported a cohort of 5 students through a $7,500 contribution and will pledge to help fundraise and recruit volunteers to raise $75,000 for fifty more students with the intention of scaling this program to eventually 150 adult learners.
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