Rawleigh Complex

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Q: Where is Rawleigh? Is it open to the public?

A: Rawleigh is located in the east edge of Freeport’s downtown. The complex is bounded by E Main street to the north, the railroad tracks to the east, E Spring street to the south, and S Adams to the west. Buildings A and D are privately owned, accessible to tenants and visitors of those businesses. The remaining buildings are accessible by site visits arranged with the City of Freeport.


Q: Who owns Rawleigh now? Who will own Rawleigh when redevelopment it is complete?

A: Most of the Rawleigh Complex is owned by the City of Freeport but space is available for purchase. Building A, where Fehr-Graham is located, is owned by Oracle Development and Building D was purchased in 2014 by Alber Properties who is leasing the first two floors to light industrial tenants and working to redevelop and secure tenants for the remaining floors.


Q: What are some of the challenges in redeveloping the site?

A: Redevelopment of brownfield sites at the scale and age of the Rawleigh Complex often pose unique challenges to American cities looking to grow. One of the biggest challenges with Rawleigh is finding modern reuses for a space historically built to house manufacturing and storage. That said, there are cities around the nation reusing industrial spaces in creative, relevant ways. See the development opportunities page for some of the reuses proposed for Rawleigh.


Q: Why not just demolish Rawleigh?

A: Demolition would cost millions of dollars and there are no grants for demolition of that magnitude. If the City were to spend taxpayer dollars to demolish the Complex, what would Freeport be left with?  An empty riverfront site with a relatively low land value.


Q: Why should the City and its partners spend resources on this project when there are so many other worthy projects that are less complex to undertake?

A: To date, the City has leveraged $4.6 million in state and federal grants and used nominal City resources. The Rawleigh redevelopment project is in line with many goals that funding agencies care about, such as cleaning up brownfields, reusing historic buildings, and redeveloping downtowns which is why the City has been so successful in bringing in outside resources for this project.


Q: What projects have been done in other communities that we can learn from?

A: The following are some excellent examples:

MASS MoCA – North Adams, MA: A contemporary art museum in a former factory in a rural community

Banbury Place, Eau Claire, WI: A mixed-use redevelopment including housing, office, and conference facilities in a former factory

Armory Arts Village, Jackson, MI: Artist live-work and art studio spaces in a former prison

TechWorks, Waterloo, IA: a mixed-use redevelopment in two former John Deere factory buildings currently under development to include a John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, The Green hotel, corporate training facilities, flexible manufacturing space, and a showcase renewable energy system.

Franklin Arts Center, Franklin, MN: a 147,000 SF arts live-work project in a city of 13,000 people in a former junior high school with 25 live-work units, studios and space for arts organizations and creative businesses, and gymnasiums and an auditorium operated by the school district.

The Plant, Chicago, IL:  an innovative project reusing a former meatpacking facility: “part vertical farm, part food-business incubator, part research and education space” powered entirely by on-site renewable energy.


Q: How can I get involved?

A:  For opportunities on how to get involved, visit the Get Involved page, or contact Freeport’s Community Development Director at (815) 235-8202.


Q: Who do I contact about using space at Rawleigh?

A: For inquiries about leasing or purchasing space at Rawleigh, contact Freeport’s Community Development Director at (815) 235-8202.