Phase 3 of BMO Center construction officially underway

Published: Apr. 26, 2023 at 5:35 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The third and final phase of renovations at Rockford’s BMO Center begins after the Rockford Area Venues and Entertainment Board (RAVE) authorizes more than $4 million of construction projects.

BMO representatives want to bring a modern look to the inside of the arena. Changes have already started on the escalators. Other improvements include adding a grab and go shop, like the ones seen at The United Center in Chicago, modernizing the Jack Daniels Bar, and making changes to the admin offices.

“A lot of orange in our building and it is slowly disappearing,” said BMO Center General Manager Gretchen Gilmore. “Having the traditional box office is kind of going away. So this is gonna be a whole fresh new look.”

The Center recently had one of its best financial quarters. Events like Hot Wheels and performers like Bert Kreischer played to sold out audiences. Now, representatives like Gilmore hope the final phase of renovations will lure more acts and visitors to the Forest City.

“The BMO’s back and promoters are coming, and artists are coming and they just love what we’ve done to the building,” she told 23 News.

City council members, like 3rd Ward Alderman Chad Tuneberg, hope these changes will not just help the Arena, but give an economic boost to surrounding businesses.

“We have heard back from restaurants and hotels that they are filled to capacity at times when we have events at the BMO or the Coronado. So it is an economic engine that is very important to Rockford,” he said.

The BMO is often considered a cheaper alternative to Chicago venues. In phase two, artist dressing rooms and a new jumbotron were added to improve both the fan and performer experiences.