The vacant Amerock building in downtown Rockford was was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. Local group, Friends of Ziock, helped the building garner the recognition.
Friends of Ziock member, Don Bissell, says, “It’s not architecturally significant, but it is significant for the fact that it’s tied to an early Rockford business.”
That’s how Amerock was able to receive the certification. It also qualifies the building to receive historic tax credits from the state, money that goes toward developing the buildings deemed historically significant.
The tax credits are supposed to help Wisconsin developer Gorman & Company, Inc. turn Amerock into an Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center.
The state’s tax credits are scheduled to run out this year, and the budget impasse in Springfield could stop them from being extended.
Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey took a trip to Springfield Thursday to ask lawmakers for a five year extension.
He says, “We don’t want to think about what would happen if it doesn’t get extended. We know it would be the loss of a lot of jobs, the loss of a lot of tremendous economic opportunity in our area.”
Bissell says his Friends of Ziock group has turned their attention to trying to get historic tax credits for the vacant Chick Hotel on South Main Street, and the old Freight Depot on Cedar Street, but fear the state stalemate could bring downtown development to a standstill.
Bissell says, “It would be very disappointing. I think we’re on a good path right now, and we need to maintain that.”
The state historic tax credits are supposed to pay for nearly a third of the $67 million Amerock project. Gorman CEO Gary Gorman, and Mayor Morrissey, have taken trips to China hoping to secure $25 million for the project through EB5 funding, a Federal program designed by Congress to stimulate the U.S. economy through foreign investment. Gorman told Eyewitness News in February of this year that he is not ruling out asking for more EB5 money if the tax credits are not extended.