Complex to bring apartments and assisted living facility to Rockford’s east side

Updated: May. 10, 2021 at 5:30 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - There are several apartment complex projects in the works throughout the Forest City. The latest is waiting for approval from Rockford’s City Council. But with most development projects, there’s some concern from neighbors.

This project targets a different area other than the several projects going on in downtown Rockford. This one targets a different area which leaders say it could cut into the city’s housing shortage. Rockford’s Community and Economic Development Director Karl Franzen says, “They are going to be marketed towards 55 plus housing, that’s the niche this developer is going after. “Our aging population is a demographic shift that is experienced across the country and so an increase in demand for senior housing and assisted living facilities. But also just our housing market in general. We’re in desperate need of additional units.”

A Wisconsin-based development group hopes to build a complex on Garrett Drive, behind the Home Depot on Perryville Road on the city’s east side. It would feature 240 apartments along with an assisted and independent living facility. “So this is going through a zoning approval process known as a planned unit development. It did hit the pause button as the request of alderman Durkee, to have some additional questions answered from some neighbors,” Franzen says.

But neighbors say they worry about extra traffic and congestion with leaders saying, for the most part, it’s already there. Paul Area of the Winnebago County Board and Rockford Apartment Association says, “I think it was noise and traffic, that kind of stuff that were things that were brought to my attention. But it’s in a busy area of town close to other like commercial areas, that area is already heavy with traffic. I don’t think that this one development would significantly change that.”

But one thing that leaders all agree on, this will draw more people to the Forest City. Franzen says, “We certainly had this feeling before COVID and so now that this project is coming through coming out of COVID, is really a great sign that COVID is not setting us so far back from the development side.”

Franzen tells 23 News the goal is to have the council’s approval within 60 days and a groundbreaking for the complex some time this year. The project also says a traffic study may also possibly be needed at the intersection of Garrett and Perryville to determine if it would need to be improved for the complex.

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