It's been 10 months since a fire claimed the old Hanley Furniture building and its neighbors. 

WIFR - The City of Rockford's Planning and Development Committee approved a request by Urban Equity Properties to build a new four-story mixed-use building on the site. It would include two storefronts and 33 apartment units, along with a rooftop deck and fitness area.

No offense to the Hanley building but this sounds a lot better. Housing in the downtown area is pretty hot right now (along with the rest of Rockford, actually) so adding more units to an already bustling area only makes sense.

The new storefronts also could mean another cool restaurant, which will be needed once the Amerock Hotel project is completed.

All in all the downtown area is in as good of shape as it's been in awhile. If it's been awhile since you visited the downtown area, get down there ASAP. It's definitely better than you remember.