UPDATE: Code violation hearing continued for Clock Tower

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Updated: May 24, 2017

UPDATE: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The owners of the Clock Tower Resort are given another 90 days to come up with a plan for the building.

City officials discussed the Clock Tower’s building code violations and how to move forward.

The more than $3 million sale was finalized earlier this month.

A group of local, regional, and national investors now own it and may have to pay nearly $230,000 in fines.

One of the investors is Rockford-based Ringland Johnson CEO Brent Johnson. He says a casino, hotel, or retail space could be in the works for the building.

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Updated: May 4, 2017

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It's been a Rockford landmark for decades, one of the first things visitors see when they visit the Forest City, but soon the Clock Tower hotel will be demolished making way for a new development.

The more than $3 million sale of the Clock Tower was finalized Wednesday night. It sold to a group of local, regional, and national investors. Included in that group is Brent Johnson, CEO of Rockford based Ringland-Johnson.

"The end of one era and perhaps the beginning of another," 5th Ward Alderman Frank Beach, said.

For decades Rockford’s Clock Tower Resort has welcomed visitors to the city. For many, it's the first landmark they see when they get off the interstate, but now the property has been sold and is slated to be demolished.

"Having it redeveloped is really going to change that perception as soon as people come in, whether they're staying at that hotel or not, or in that area or not, we want them to see the best thing we can possibly showcase," Josh Albrecht, RACVB Marketing and Public Relations Director, said.

Ringland-Johnson CEO Brent Johnson, one of the new buyers says one option is to build a casino and hotel on the property, but other options include retail, restaurants, and entertainment. The Clock Tower was previously owned by Beltway Hospitality, based out of Texas. The hotel closed in November after falling into disrepair.

Nearly $230,000 in fines is owed on the property. A hearing officer wouldn't waive those fees, but city council could do just that or at least lower them. In a letter to Mayor Tom McNamara Johnson says he looks forward to working with the city and asks for help securing federal or state grants to help pay for the resort's demolition.

Alderman Tim Durkee says he's excited to see the changes in his ward and likes the fact at least one investor is local. Alderman Frank Beach agrees.

"It keeps all the development and all the business and all the jobs basically home in our area," he said.

Everything will be demolished except the tennis center which will stay. Johnson says they hope to start razing the property by the end of the year. It will likely cost between $1 million and $1.5 million.

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Update: May 4, 2017

UPDATED: ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Clock Tower has been sold for more than $3 million.

Chicago-based ATG Trust Company is the trust representing the buyers.

Closing took place Wednesday.

The new owner wants the current fines waived, but the city still wants them to pay because they consider the building to be a threat to the public.

The city says its willing to work with the buyers to reduce those fines but that would have to go through city council for approval.

The water bill was paid as a part of the closing and the new owner will turn on utilities.

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Update: April 27, 2017

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The Clock Tower has a potential buyer, but the current fines may play a role in that sale.

The Clock Tower Hotel and Conference Center could soon be under new ownership, though it’s not entirely clear who would take over.

Ander Smith represents the possible buyers and told the City of Rockford that the sale of the Clock Tower from Beltway Hospitality should be finalized next week. Because of that, the buyers are asking for the code violation fines to be reduced from its current total of $200,000 down to just $17,000 but the City says that is simply not going to happen.

In fact, the City is looking to increase the fines claiming the building has fallen into even greater disrepair since the initial violations.

"The property has gotten worse. Not only since the initial filing of this case, which was in October of last year, but it was condemned last week. So we are seeking an increased fine instead of a major decrease, which is what the respondents are requesting,” says Lafakeria Vaughn, Assistant City Attorney.
In a hearing at City Hall, those seeking a reduction in the fees asked for the hearing officer’s decision to be pushed back as they finalize the sale of the Clock Tower, which was granted.

Vaughn says she finds this frustrating because this issue seems to keep getting pushed back for the possible sales that never seem to pan out.
The next hearing is May 4 at City Hall where the City hopes a decision will be made on whether or not fines the Clock Tower owes will be increased or decreased.

The fines are recorded against the property, meaning how the fines are paid is decided between the current owners and the potential buyers.

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Updated: April 21, 2017

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) -- Building Code Officials with the City of Rockford say they have condemned the Clock Tower Resort.

The City is calling the Clock Tower an unsafe environment since they found out the building not only had no power, but the alarm systems that would alert the City of a fire were no longer working.

This comes after the Clock Tower closed its doors last fall after facing multiple building code violations discovered by city inspectors when a man was killed in October 2016 at a party inside the hotel.

The hotel's indoor water park, Coco Key Water Resort, has also been closed since 2015 because of code violations. Tilted Kilt, a restaurant attached to the Clock Tower Resort, is also closed.

This story is developing. We will continue to update you as we learn more.

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Posted: March 20, 2017

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) – The Clock Tower Resort has yet to reopen its doors after a deadly shooting back in October.

Other businesses inside have been waiting for promised repairs to the building only to find out Monday that the owners of the hotel plan to sell.

The owners of Totally You hair salon are packing up and moving to a new location on Riverside. Totally You is one of four businesses that were operating inside the Clock Tower resort and Spa.

The full-service salon tells us Clock Tower owners declined to pay their Nicor gas bill on March 10, leaving all of the businesses without hot water or heat. Salon owners say they contacted the owners of Clock Tower several times to tell them about the issues but they were unsuccessful.

“I told them several times that we have no hot water, we have no heat and we have no response. So for that reason, we had to leave. We were given no choice,” says Adrian Vasquez, owner of Totally You salon.

Totally You’s lease with the Clock Tower isn’t up until July 31. The business will be relocating to 61060 Riverside Boulevard in Loves Park.

The Clock Tower has faced multiple building code violations including faulty fire alarm security and door security that was discovered by city inspectors after a man was killed on October 15 at a party inside the hotel.

The hotel’s indoor water park, Coco Key Water Resort, has been closed since summer 2015 because of code violations.