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As construction starts, developer says Colman Yards will be built entirely by Illinois contractors

A $430 million project to transform the 26-acre Barber Colman property is underway in Rockford.

Developer J. Jeffers & Co. officially broke ground on Colman Yards and confirmed that all workers will be Illinois contractors and developers and 20-30 per cent of labor participation for the construction process will be made up of minority, women, veteran and disadvantaged businesses.

The developer is also required — both by state rules and under the terms of the redevelopment agreement it has with the city — to pay prevailing wages, which is the mandated minimum pay on public projects that typically match union rates.

The project’s general contractor is Chicago-based ENC Construction & Development. The development team expects between 20 per cent and 30 per cent participation by minority, women, veteran and disadvantaged business enterprises during construction.

About 400 construction workers are expected to work on the project full time.

“The site was once the home of a thriving multi-national company and a center for innovation,” Joshua Jeffers, CEO of J. Jeffers & Co., said in a news release. “We are thrilled to continue the tradition by reimagining Barber-Colman as a modern neighborhood with authentic historic fabric.”

The development, at an estimated cost of $420 million, includes rehabilitation of nine old factory buildings, new construction and site work. A total of 400 full-time equivalent construction jobs are projected.

Phase 1-A is expected to take nearly two years to complete, with Phase 2 beginning 12 months later.

The 26-acre Barber-Colman property has been vacant for more than 20 years and the site has been renamed Colman Yards, a new residential, commercial, recreational, retail and public green space neighborhood.

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