ROCK FALLS – The timeline for completion of a special events facility near the city’s riverfront has been backed up, but for a good reason.
Larry McCormick, owner of McCormick’s Nursery and Garden Center, last summer bought the building at 205 E. Third St. that once was home to Rock River Tool and Die.
The original business plan was to repurpose the vacant industrial building for a banquet hall and business conference center. That still will happen, but a restaurant now is added to the mix.
“The building will still have multiple uses, with a kitchen and banquet hall, but it will now have a full-blown restaurant that will be open year round,” McCormick said.
The restaurant, already operating locally, plans to move to the Riverside Banquet Hall and Conference Center, but is not ready to publicly announce its plans, McCormick said.
The addition of the restaurant has backed up the scheduled opening, which was set for June to take full advantage of prime wedding season.
“Things are going real good, so we’re shooting for Oct. 1 or Nov. 1 at the latest,” McCormick said.
The 4,000-square-foot area will have partitions and doors so it can accommodate events with up to 700 people or made more intimate for groups of 200 or fewer.
Deleted from the original business plan is an outdoor pavilion, and Dixon businesswoman Lori Sheridan won’t manage the facility.
Trying to find enough parking space has been challenging, but McCormick bought some additional land from the city to address the situation.
On April 25, the Rock Falls Industrial Development Commission OK’d McCormick’s offer to buy a half-acre next to the site for $36,500. The land is near the parking area at the RB&W development site owned by developer Pete Harkness.
“Larry and Pete sat down together and made sure the parking lots will flow well together,” City Administrator Robbin Blackert said. “We’ll take care of the property lines between them later.”
Harkness closed Dec. 28 on the city’s sale of the 5.6-acre area across East Second Street from the Holiday Inn Express & Suites. The $8 million redevelopment project will feature another riverfront hotel.
Harkness is working with My Place Hotels to bring a 46-unit hotel to his site.