Former Amerock building granted historic status
Online Staff Report
The former Amerock building, 416 S. Main St., in downtown Rockford, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places, the National Park Service (Department of Interior) announced May 13.
The Rockford landmark, named the Ziock Building in honor of textile pioneer William H. Ziock, was built in three phases between 1912 and 1950 by the Ziock family and the Amerock Corporation.
The building housed titans of two industries that helped fuel the industrial growth of Rockford: textiles and hardware. Today, the complex is commonly known as the Amerock Building because of its last major tenant and owner.
Friends of Ziock (FOZ) founder Don Bissell said, “It is appropriate that this award comes during National Historic Preservation Month in May.”
A grassroots citizens group, FOZ is working with city and county officials to identify the highest and best use of the building as a major step toward redevelopment and a catalyst for surrounding development downtown.
FOZ Spokesman Jeff Orduno cautions that the group will not rest with the historic designation. Because developers can now take full advantage of tax credits associated with historic status, the potential for redevelopment is vastly improved. This is particularly true if the State of Illinois passes state historic tax credits of 25 percent as a companion to the federal credits of 20 percent that are currently available.
The building is currently owned by the City of Rockford, as is much of the adjacent land downtown.
FOZ member and architect Gary Anderson said: “In the healthy downtown community, public property is balanced by private sector investment with buildings occupied, appropriately assessed and producing taxes sufficient to cover municipal costs. The bonus will be that new tenants will breathe life back into this downtown landmark and light the riverfront skyline.”
The Friends of Ziock invite the public to join them in a celebration of historic status and in anticipation of the rest of the journey to redevelop the Ziock Building. The celebration and open house will be between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., Thursday, June 9, at the Prairie Street Brewhouse, 200 Prairie St.
The open house will feature a gallery of Ziock historical photos as well as before and after examples of similar projects. Video and audio-taped interviews of Ziock descendents and former employees, Ziock family genealogy, the presentation to the Rockford Historic Preservation Commission as well as other historic documents will be displayed.
Several special additions to the party are planned. Parking is available on the north side of the Brewhouse.
To learn more about the Building or Friends of Ziock, visit www.ziock.org.
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