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Grant to clean up old Rockford watch factory could lead to sale

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — The city of Rockford says it just scored a competitive grant that could finally breathe new life into a century-old building.

The EPA gave the city a $275,000 grant that will help clean up the old watch factory on S. Madison Street. About $200,000 of it will be used to rid the building of asbestos.

The city says its been in talks with developers about taking over the building, but the costs to remediate the site were a deterrent. Now that the grant is taking care of that cost, it will make it more appealing to investors.

"The architecture is amazing but it's smaller than you think. And so as developers are trying to put together numbers to make it work for development, lowering the cost certainly puts us in the right direction," said Karl Franzen, Director of Community and Economic Development.

The old watch factory was put on the market in 2018 for $299,000. Once the work is complete, the city plans to put it back up for sale.