ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — For several years, the former strip club, State Street Station, sat empty on Rockford’s “Miracle Mile.” Now, it’s been demolished, and city officials hope for a new era for the retail strip.
“We’ll just hope the economy takes off and people decide that this is a great place to do business,” said Paula Olson, Executive Director of the Miracle Mile Business District Association.
The Miracle Mile is a stretch of E. State Street that runs from Fairview Boulevard to Alpine Road, and is home to Don Carter Lanes, Mary’s Market Cafe, Rock River Ford, Alpine Inn, The Great Wall, and other businesses.
“[State Street Station] just was an unsavory business to have in our area, when we’re trying to make it family friendly,” Olson continued. “So, to have an affordable family restaurant move in is very exciting to us.”
The lot where State Street Station once stood will soon be home to a chain Italian restaurant called Via Sofia’s.
“We want to be a part of Rockford growing and improving, like all cities like to do,” said Via Sofia’s marketing manager, Michelle Stramel.
Via Sofia’s representatives said they aren’t sure when construction on the new eatery will be finished.
Every neighborhood has stores that close as others move in.
But on the Miracle Mile, the old Magna supermarket building, at 3915 E. State, has sat empty since 1997.
“With the shopping center almost at capacity, people are finding out that this is an affordable place to do business in, and it’s also a central location, in the heart of Rockford,” Olson said.
Olson said one of the possibilities being considered for the former grocery store is that it could become a Rockford Fire station.
“It will be demolished this Spring, and then the City will try to market it to some developers,” she said. “I heard a rumor that it could be turned into a fire station, which is kind of exciting.”
Some businesses along the Miracle Mile are just happy to see something moving in to the blighted building.
“I was devastated [when Magna closed],” said Jori Peterson, Don Carter Lanes’ Director of Fun. “I loved the store. I mean, the bulk department, the bakery was awesome. It’s not only the people that were there were awesome, it was just a really, really good store.”