Riverfront Master Planning

The Lawrence and National buildings have been the center of significant redevelopment review and consideration by the City of Sterling and its residents. This interest in advancing redevelopment options continued after the City let a Request for Qualifications – Master Developer (RFP #21-582 July 20, 2021) and awarded of a contract to Gorman & Company. On March 30, 2022, The City of Sterling and Gorman & Company mutually executed the Master Development (MDA) Contract.

Under the contract, to date Gorman & Company has completed all tasks and submitted all deliverables on time, including this report and its recommendations. Additionally, Gorman & Company has served as a member of the Riverfront Commission to assist in and guide potential riverfront investments from city allocated funds.

Also, as part of the contract, Gorman & Company engaged Studio GWA, and Planning and Architecture firm, to lead the community engagement efforts, planning discussions, and the scanning of the Lawrence and National Buildings. Fehr-Graham and Associates to perform Environmental studies in preparation for The United States Environmental Protection Agency, and other grant applications for remediation. Both parties fully performed the extent of contracted services and their work contributed to this plan. Collectively, Gorman & Company, Studio GWA, and Fehr-Graham are the Project Team.

It should be noted that this plan builds off, not replaces, the work done in years prior including the June 17th, 2021, Master Plan authored by Studio GWA. Work done during the due diligence and preparation for this plan affirmed many of that plan’s recommendations and adds further direction and recommendations for the City of Sterling to deliberate on. It is our hope The City will approve the recommendations made herein so that the redevelopment of the Lawrence Brothers’ property can commence with National to follow.

Gorman & Company recommends the City of Sterling approve the Master Plan, including the following summary of projects and priorities:


1) Lawrence Brothers – Workforce apartments, hotel and events center, bar/restaurant
2) National – Market rate apartments, fitness center, and yet to be determined other potential uses


1) The promotion of the Lawrence and National projects as business development sites, in partnership with the Sauk Valley Chamber of Commerce, Sterling Main Street, The Greater Sterling Development Corporation (GSDC), and others as may be appropriate
2) The continued focus on environmental remediation for the Lawrence and National sites
3) Partial listing of the sites on the National Register of Historic Places

More details are provided in the body of the plan. Further, these priorities represent present opportunities and are subject to change in order as they are dependent on the availability of resources and economic conditions. Any changes to order must follow the MDA guidance for phasing.

City Council considers this plan adoption on 2.21.2023 during the regularly scheduled Council meeting. 

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Riverfront Reimagined Development Opportunity

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