Christopher Furney moved back to Rockford 6 months ago after living abroad for years. He was looking for a place to live downtown but nothing caught his eye and now his eyes are set on the Rockford Furniture Building.
"We bought building with intentions to turn it into condos and mixed usage...we're hoping to get 2 restaurants in there and retail space," says Furney of River City Development Group.
The Rockford Furniture building is actually made up of five different buildings. The rehab process will be done in three different phases. The first phase includes the former showroom building on Madison. Furney is hoping to construct six different condos, ranging from 1600-2200 square feet, starting at $160,000.
In all, Furney is hoping to build around 13 condominiums. Furney says the downtown landscape is changing and thinks we've entered an urban revival..
"I think we're in an urban renaissance. I think you're seeing people interested in the downtown area that are younger guys interested in bringing the stuff they've seen in the big cities that they've lived in, bringing contemporary edge to the buildings here," says Furney.
Sals Diner owner Mary Caiozzo says many downtown businesses' are struggling and she's hoping increased residential development will cook up more sales.
"I think it's way past time we start revitalizing the downtown and bring people back downtown where they're supposed to be," says Caiozzo.
River city development also bought the old Schleicher Printing Building. Furney's mother, Cyndi, is opening a gift store and market rate apartments will be developed upstairs. Furney says he's happy to be home in Rockford and excited to put his dreams for the city into motion. The first phase of the Rockford Furniture Building project is expected to be completed next summer. The entire project should take 3 years...
Schleicher printing is still housed at 308 East State. The gift shop, named "Eclectic," just took over the storefront.