By Clint Wolf - March 19th 2024



An $80 to $90 million development project is being proposed along Shirland Avenue in South Beloit.

According to a development agreement, Rock River Development, LLC, which is based in Georgia, is proposing a mixed-use project which may include multi-family and residential housing, office space, commercial retail space, restaurants and other uses. The project is planned for property along Shirland Avenue across the street from ABC Supply Stadium.

South Beloit City Administrator Sonya Hoppes said the development has been in the due diligence stage for about a year.

“It is aligned with our comprehensive plan,” Hoppes said. “It is about a year away from ground-breaking.”

The property, which extends to the east shore of the Rock River and also is bordered by Turtle Creek, has some environmental issues and the developer is aware of that, Hoppes said. The property was previously occupied by various manufacturing facilities and foundry sand has been detected on the property, she said.

The development agreement was approved by the city council in November, but Mayor Tom Fitzgerald recused himself from the vote because his son, James Fitzgerald, is a principal in the development group.

According to the development agreement between Rock River Development and the City of South Beloit, the developer will submit a master plan for the project no later than March 31. The master plan will include a site layout, giving locations of parking areas, drive aisle, landscaping and setbacks. No construction will begin until the city approves the master plan.

The property is owned by the City of South Beloit and the city will deed the property to Rock River Development at no cost. The city also will make efforts to acquire railroad property in the area, which may be added to the development area. If the city is unsuccessful in acquiring the old railroad property, this will not be considered a breach of the agreement.

The city is in the process of addressing the environmental issues on the property and the city will be responsible for all costs associated with the remediation process.

“The City, after due and careful consideration, has concluded that the redevelopment of the property will further the growth of the city, facilitate the redevelopment of the surrounding areas, increase the assessed valuation of real estate situated within the surrounding areas, increase the economic activity within the city, provide a substantial number of job opportunities to residents of the city, and otherwise be in the best interest of the city by furthering the health, safety, morals, and welfare of its residents. and taxpayers,” the development agreement states.

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