Cliffbreakers re-branded as Riverview Inn & Suites
By Jim Hagerty
ROCKFORD – The ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially re-open one a storied Rockford hotel is in the books.
A large crowd gathered at Riverview Inn & Suites at Cliffbreakers last Friday for the ceremony that capped the upgrade to the facility’s banquet, ballroom and event center. The facelift includes new carpeting, a built-in dance floor and soundproof air walls. It will also allow Riverview to accommodate up to 1,000 people for weddings, conferences and special events.
Eighty-four guest rooms on the third and fourth floor were also re-decorated.
Most of the project was covered by a city-backed HUD Section 108 loan in the amount of $3 million.
Renovations began last June. They experienced some minor hiccups as city leaders pressed the resort’s new owners for an updated security plan after a man was shot dead Jan. 1, 2017, during a private New Year’s Eve party. The plans are now in place and the inn is now a flagship for future northwest-side development that will continue throughout the year.
“It’s exciting,” Mayor Tom McNamara said. “We have new infrastructure going in on North Main (Street), so we are seeing investment from the city and the state. Rosecrance kicked it off over there in the former Eagle grocery store space. SwedishAmerican is going to be kicking off construction the end of summer or early fall of this year. It took a little longer to get the process started but once we got it started, we’ve had a really good working relationship with their management and the owners.”
The Riverview project has come with 78 full time jobs. Those workers have gotten some experience during a soft opening and during special events ahead of last week’s ribbon cutting. General Manager Andy Bridwell says the building and all the amenities inside will offer an experience that outshines the average hotel or resort stay.
“We want to deliver an amazing experience on both the hotel side and on the events side, and we are working extremely hard to do that,” Bridwell told reporters at the ceremony.
Riverview Inn & Suites at Cliffbreakers is at 700 W Riverside Blvd., along the Rock River. The facility was built as a restaurant in 1993 by Rockford restaurateur Jimmy Vitale. Vitale added a hotel in 1997, and Cliffbreakers quickly became a prominent resort and convention center. He later sold the operation but returned to run it in 2008. It is now owned by Aries Capital Management of Chicago. R.