Riverfront Redevelopment

The City of Sterling has undertaken the development of a Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Plan to address current issues, challenges and opportunities confronting the Rock River Riverfront. The Plan provides a conceptual redevelopment plan for six functionally obsolete industrial sites, collectively referred to as the “Riverfront Redevelopment Sites.”

To address current issues, challenges and opportunities confronting the Riverfront, the City undertook the development of a Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Plan. The City is at a unique point due to a culmination of events including the decline of industry in the area and the displacement of Downtown businesses as development transpires on the City’s periphery. To respond to these altering events, an inventive and implementable plan must be put into place. It is important that the Plan be grounded in market realities and incorporates the three pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental and cultural.

Sterling’s Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Plan provides a conceptual redevelopment plan for several parcels of functionally obsolete industrial sites along the Rock River; and, potentially, adjoining areas. The area addressed could total more than 35 acres and cover nearly one mile of shoreline. The sites are characterized by aging, vacant structures and a gritty appearance. The Riverfront Redevelopment Plan provides an opportunity to address these issues in addition to future redevelopment along the Rock River.

The Downtown Riverfront Redevelopment Plan presents a “blueprint” to guide the City and other stakeholders in their efforts to reinvent and reclaim the Riverfront. A fundamental goal will be to establish the Riverfront as an amenity and destination rooted in the City’s historic past, while providing opportunities for the future.

As an amendment to the Comprehensive Plan, this Plan is the official, adopted policy guide for future development/redevelopment and design improvements along the Rock River riverfront. It sets forth goals, analyzes existing conditions and trends, and illustrates a long-range vision for the physical, social and economic characteristics of Sterling’s Riverfront.


To view more details on the Riverfront Development Plan, please select the following documents:
Task Force Initiation Workshop Summary
Community Workshop 1 Summary
Visioning Summary 
Introduction (Interim Document)
Section 1: Community Outreach (Interim Document) 
Section 2: Market Analysis (Interim Document) 
Section 3: Existing Conditions Analysis (Interim Document) 
Section 4: Issues and Opportunities (Interim Document)     
Proposed Study Area Boundaries

To view the final draft of the Sterling Riverfront Redevelopment Plan, please click here.  Please note that this document is a very large file (47 MB).

Adaptive Reuse Study

The team at Gary W. Anderson Architects was tasked by the City of Sterling with identifying the design and cost feasibility associated with the adaptive resuse of Stanley/National and Lawrence Brothers properties, located along the Riverfront.  In 2011, the CIty of Sterling completed a Riverfront Redevelopment Plan and identified Stanley/National and Lawrence Brothers properties as key parcels for redevelopment.  The study process involved reviewing the existing conditions, assess improvement needs, and incorporate existing market analyses to propose an adaptive resuse strategy.

Gary W. Anderson Architects prepared design options, renovation cost estimates, and funding sources for the City of Sterling to pursue through public/private partnerships.  The development strategy demonstrates adaptive resuse as a viable approach that combines innovation, learning, living, and cultural expression. 

Gary W. Anderson Architects presented their study to the public at the City Council meeting on Monday March 18th, 2013.  Please find their presentation from the Council meeting here.  Please find their Adaptive Reuse Study here.