Rockford's Independent Newspaper

UEP continues downtown purchase

By Jim Hagerty

ROCKFORD – Urban Equity Properties deepened its stake in downtown Rockford Monday when it finalized the purchase of the commercial building at 119 N. Church St.

The building is next to UEP’s Talcott Building, which is currently undergoing a $16 million renovation.

“We are excited,” UEP President Justin Fern said. “We are going to continue to invest in downtown Rockford to make it better and better by redeveloping more properties.”

Fern’s company bought the four-story building from an entity owned by the family of Rockford lawyer Greg Tuite, whose law firm will remain at the address along with seven other tenants.

With 119 N. Church St., UEP entities now control half the square block. The other half includes a parking deck, Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, Nordlof Center, Octane and the long-vacant Trekk building.

The building was built by as the “Nu-State Building” by Rockford contractor Max Liebling, who built the Times Theater. Along with the Talcott Building, it was a major post-Depression commercial downtown development. Osco Drug anchored the property from 1951-83. The building includes an 80-space parking lot at the corner of N. Church and Mulberry streets.

“Combined with the existing lot across the street, we now have over 100 stalls in that area,” Fern said.

Fern said an improvement plan is in the works, but no major changes to the property are expected. He does, however, plan to reattach the Nu-State Building name.

The purchase comes almost four months after UEP announced the Talcott project and two others in a $27.8 million package: CA Flats at 327 W. Jefferson St., and “301,”  at the 301 S. Main St. site of the former Hanley Furniture building. CA Flats will boast 12 residential lofts while the 301 will comprise 33 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments, rooftop deck and a restaurant and retail on the ground floor.

Construction would begin next year and be completed by 2020.

The Talcott transformation will turn the 13-story office building into a mix-used development with 13,000 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, five floors of offices, and 42 apartments. There will be a tenant lounge, game room, deck and fitness center. R.

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