ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Founders Landing, otherwise known as the Lorden building, will soon be a downtown Rockford memory. 

That doesn’t mean the future won’t be bright for the building’s remaining footprint. City officials say once the makeshift concert and event venue is demolished, plans will commence to redevelop Davis Park into full-scale urban attraction.

The new Davis Park will feature a new amphitheater, urban beach, skate park, and boat docks along the Rock River.

Mayor Tom McNamara says residents should remember what the Lorden building has meant to the city’s landscape but be prepared for the next chapter in the history of the sprawling riverfront park.

“While the Lorden building held some great Rockford history, the demolition of the dilapidated building provides an opportunity to breathe new life into Davis Park,”  McNamara said. “I’m excited to see the park transition into a more welcoming and activated space with an urban beach, splash pads, a skate park, and an entertainment stage.”

The Lorden building’s past is directly tied to the Ziock Building, now the Downtown Embassy Suites and Conference Center. It was there that textile manufacturer William Ziock, in 1913, moved all four of his companies, including B-Z-B Knitting.

B-Z-B Knitting outgrew its space in the Ziock Building after just a few years and built what is now Founders Landing in 1918. The company later became Manikin Hosiery and remained in the building through the 1940s.

In 1951, the building was acquired by Lorden Storage, which later operated Lorden Distributors. The company filled in the windows with brick and opened up the first two floors before moving out of what became commonly known as the Lorden building in 1972. 

The building sat vacant until 1989, when it was repurposed as part of Davis Park.

The $1.4 million demolition cost is included in the park’s $6 million redevelopment plan.

“I’m excited to see the park transition into a more welcoming and activated space,” McNamara said.

A construction timeline has not been announced.