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Posted on: July 18, 2023

City Council Approves Barber Colman Agreement

barber colman

On July 17, 14th Ward Alderman Mark Bonne called for a Motion to Reconsider an amendment to the redevelopment agreement for Barber Colman, mandating J Jeffers, as the developer, sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) acceptable to the Northwestern Illinois Building Trades Development. That amendment was approved last week by a vote of 7-6.  However, 7th Ward Alderman Janessa Wilkins was absent last week due to a family emergency. Alderman Bonne’s motion tonight allowed Alderman Wilkins the opportunity to vote on this historic project. Council voted in favor of reconsidering the amendment. The revote on the amendment resulted in a 7-7 tie among the aldermen, but Mayor Tom McNamara placed the deciding vote against a PLA mandate. Once the amendment was voted down, City Council went on to approve the redevelopment agreement with J. Jeffers unanimously. 

“I’d like to thank City staff for their hard work in putting this development agreement together, and City Council for ultimately supporting this historic project,” says Mayor McNamara. “I have been invigorated in the last week seeing all of our residents and organizations come together to show their support for this project and this City. This is a great day to be a Rockfordian!” 

The full $430 million plan, which is expected to be completed over 10 years, includes 500,000 square feet of historical rehabilitation, 1.5 million square feet of new construction, 900 multi-family units and 130,000 square feet of commercial space, as well as public green space and an activated riverfront.

Phase 1A of construction will begin this summer and is expected to be completed in late 2024. The $100 million phase includes the renovation of three existing buildings into 215 apartments, a roof deck, co-working space and the creation of a parking garage with 336 spaces. 

Phase 1B, which is scheduled to begin in January of 2025 and cost $70 million, includes rehabilitation of all of the remaining historic buildings. When complete, it will house an additional 119 apartments, as well as space for a restaurant, events and other retail. 

Phase 2 consists of new construction on the remainder of the property and will be completed in multiple phases. The timing of these phases is dependent on market factors.  It will include new construction and parking, as well as 43 three-flats and 74 townhomes.  



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