Midtown Loft Owners Fined by City

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ROCKFORD (WIFR) – The city of Rockford invested a lot of money into a project that has stalled in the city's Midtown district. And the developers are now being fined.

Morrissey Realty Group is being fined $1,000 every month until construction gets started.

The city says Rockford's Midtown district has seen better days. What used to be a vibrant business rich neighborhood now has empty store fronts. Complexes are slowly falling apart, and the city says they'd like to fix that.

"We''ll keep trying and we'll find something that works,” Patrick Hayes, city of Rockford legal director said. “The seventh street district can reinvigorate through redevelopment, and the city of Rockford is committed to that."

A building on Third Avenue and Seventh street is part of the Midtown loft project but hasn't been renovated since the city gave developer Morrissey Reality group $400,000 in tif money to help fix it in 2010.

Brian Leggero, a concerned citizen, says he's concerned the money isn't being used for the right reasons. He sees a building that looks like it hasn't been touched.

"We can see by the state of it, it's obvious to me that none of the money was spent there, and I think the taxpayers deserve to know where the money went and why it wasn't spent on this project," Leggero said.

Businesses are opening in the neighborhood. Lung Fung Sushi opened up shop three years ago, and they say while it hasn't always been easy, they're not giving up on Midtown.

"Everybody everyday [is] working really hard, I hope,” Xin Liu of Lung Fung Sushi said. “Everybody come[s] to, you know, run a business, [just] like us. [We'll] keep growing Keep growing, and make Rockford real nice."

That mindset is what the city says can lead neighborhoods like this one to being reborn.

Patrick Hayes says the city will work with Morrissey and possibly restructure the contract.


ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- The developers of a project meant to revitalize a big section of Rockford's Midtown District are now facing some stiff fines.

The city says they're charging the Morrissey Realty Group $1,000 a month for not starting construction on the Midtown Loft Project.

The building on the corner of 3rd Avenue and 7th Street was supposed to be turned into lofts, but the city says developers haven't been able to finance the project even with help from the city to the tune of $400,000. The $1,000 monthly fines are part of a performance clause that Rockford says the developer hasn't met. These developments raised concerns about the project.

"As we can see by the state of it, it's obvious to me that none of the money was spent there, and I think the taxpayers deserve to know where the money went and why it wasn't spent on this project," said Brian Leggero a concerned citizen.

The city says the developer was able to prove to them that the money they received was indeed spent on the project. The city also says the Midtown Loft Project is one of many projects in the city that have been stalled by the economy.


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