WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Hotel Planned for Historic Building in Galesburg

May 8, 2017

The Ferris building on Mulberry Street in Galesburg will turn 100 next year. And a real estate developer wants to give it a new use as it enters its second century.

Kit Wilcox's plan is to convert the building into a 32-room boutique hotel.  Wilcox said he also intends  to add amenities such as a spa, an upscale restaurant, and a rooftop garden and bar.

Wilcox has a two-year option to purchase the building from the city for $11.  The city acquired the property in 2008 for $183,000.  

The three-story brick building was previously used as a candy factory and as the home of a moving company. It was last used in 2005.  Wilcox said the building has sentimental value to him because his family built it to use as a candy factory.

"My mother would tell me when she was growing up that she would come here and help us pick through candy and work a little bit, when she was a young girl," Wilcox said.

Wilcox said the plan to convert it into a boutique hotel would fit in with the downtown and the small businesses that make up that part of the community. He also said it would give visitors an opportunity to enjoy a unique experience. He said the experience could include tours around Galesburg and discussions about the city's history.

Wilcox said he is in the planning stage, and part of the planning is to get the building designated as a historic landmark, which could take around six months to complete.

Wilcox has around two years to convert the building into a boutique hotel. He estimated the project will around $8 million.