Rockford Construction plans 245-unit apartment building, parking deck on west side of GR

LARGE RAPIDS — Rockford Construction Co. plans a seven-story building with 245 apartments and a 310-space parking lot on the west side of Grand Rapids, MiBiz has learned.

The company is proposing the project for 501 and 516 Alabama Ave. NW, located just east of Rockford Headquarters.

Rockford currently owns the 0.6 acre parcel at 501 Alabama, which it uses as a paved parking lot for employees. The other vacant 1.4 acre parcel at 516 Alabama Ave. belongs to Energy consumers. Rockford has entered into a purchase agreement for the site with Consumers and expects to close on ownership before December, according to documents filed with the city.

According to property records, consumers purchased 501 Alabama Ave. NW on February 28, 2018 for $825,000 from Cube LLC, which is registered with Rockford Construction CEO Mike VanGessel. The utility planned the $20 million “Circuit West” office building and housing development for up to 275 of its employees on the site in 2018, though plans for the six-story office building never materialized. A comment from Consumers Energy was not immediately available.

In city filings, Rockford noted that the proposed project “adds attainable residential units to the downtown community, increasing the critical mass needed to support downtown businesses,” as well as “strengthens the aesthetics of the neighborhood through the creation of new green spaces and landscape features”. .” Plans also include removing existing overhead power lines and poles.

Rockford also said the project and parking lot should improve congestion in the neighborhood and improve pedestrian access to nearby offices and businesses.

According to Rockford Record.

The proposed seven-story building features a U-shaped design with a frontage on Alabama Avenue and wings extending around the corners of First and Second Streets. The site originally housed 13 single-family homes from the early 1900s which fell into disrepair and were eventually demolished, leaving the site vacant.

“The exterior finishes are still to be determined; however, materials will likely include brick, glass and metal panels, in colors and patterns to complement the existing character of the neighborhood,” wrote Jeffrey Edwards, vice president of 516 Alabama LLC and the team at Rockford real estate development, in an application to the city.

Based in Grand Rapids LLC Integrated Architecture designed the project, according to documents filed with the city.

Current designs provide for 29 apartments, a lobby, rental office, fitness room and residential lounge on the ground floor. The top six floors would have 36 units each. Plans also include a 24-space surface parking lot for passenger and guest parking, as well as a bicycle rack and outdoor green space immediately to the east of the building.

The four-story parking deck would be available to residents of the planned apartment building, as well as Rockford Construction employees and the public. The parking deck would also include 114 spaces for indoor bicycle storage.

Rockford is requesting special land use approvals for the ground floor apartments and parking deck, as well as a waiver for enabling the ground floor parking deck.

“Based on nearby established retail corridors and recent economic impacts on retailers, we believe the Alabama Corridor would not function effectively as a retail district,” Edwards wrote in the company’s filing, noting the precedent for ground floor residential uses of the Lofts on Alabama Development directly adjacent to the proposed Rockford project. “We also believe that maximizing the number of residential units on the 516 Alabama site will relieve inflationary pressure on rents and accessibility in the neighborhood.”

Rockford Construction was not immediately available to comment on the project.

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