Do You Know What This Abandoned Building in Rockford Was Intended To Be?
For over a decade a massive building on Rockford's far east side has sat empty. Drivers along State Street (also known as Business 20) have likely spotted this building. It's located just east of AMC Showplace 16. The space has never opened to the public, but what was it supposed to be?
This topic popped up in a popular Rockford, Illinois-related Facebook group and it created a lengthy exchange of comments. There were many guesses, assumptions, and "certainty" in the responses but quite a few were inaccurate. (Facebook probs, am I right?) Considering how long the building has sat unused it's no surprise some of the guesses were off.
What were the wrong answers?
Someone suggested this was the original location of Woodman's Food Market but "the owners backed out and choose to build along Perryville" at their current location; that is incorrect. Another response claimed it was to be the original location for Best Buy, also incorrect. One person said, with implied certainty, it was an old theater before Showplace 16 was built. This is impossible considering SP16 was built and completed before the almost-50,000-square-foot building popped up.
What was this building, at 8445 Chandan Drive, supposed to be, and what happened?
In 2009, this space was supposed to open as a Brunswick XL, an entertainment with bowling, laser tag, an arcade, and a restaurant. Trekaroo has a few photos and reviews of similar locations before they were sold to another company. There's an interesting backstory with a not-so-surprising end.
From what I heard over the years, Brunswick Bowling, which dubs itself as the industry's premier provider for all things bowling, was upset with local bowling centers choosing not to update their lanes with Brunswick's products. (This is just hearsay, of course.) In a sort of retaliation, the company decided to open its own bowling center in Rockford. However, in case you weren't around in 2009, the economy tanked, went into recession, and Brunswick opted to not move forward.
The shell of a building still stands today, unused.
[h/t Rockford Rocked]