City green lights Rockford Construction’s housing project


Rockford Construction’s $2.4 million development will consist of four buildings and 18 residential units. Courtesy Integrated Architecture

Rockford Construction Co. has received approval from the city to go ahead with a new residential development on the west side of Grand Rapids, not far from downtown.

City and planning commissioners recently approved a zoning change for a $2.4 million project the building and development firm wants to construct on the southwest corner of Douglas Street and Seward Avenue NW.

The property, which is only a block south of the Bridge Street commercial district, has been vacant for about five years.

Prior to the zoning change, the city’s Brownfield Development Authority and City Commission agreed to designate the site a brownfield as a Part 201 facility, meaning its soil is contaminated. Rockford plans to spend $600,000 to remediate the property before construction begins.

The development calls for four residential buildings with a total of 18 market-rate rental units: 10 one-bedroom flats, six two-bedroom townhouses and two one-bedroom studios.

One building will offer four two-story townhouses. Another will have four one-bedroom apartments on each level of the two-story structure. A third building has three stories; there will be two one-bedroom units on the ground floor, and one townhouse each on the second and third levels. The ground floor of the fourth building will contain service areas, a community room and a covered patio that faces a common greenspace. Two studio apartments are planned for the second floor.

Jim Reminga of Rockford Construction told planners each unit will be built with similar amenities and finishes, and that the only real difference between the units is size. He said the greenspace the firm has set aside amounts to roughly 15 percent of the total site, which measures about four-tenths of an acre.

The development also will offer nine parking spaces and will add new curbs, gutters, sidewalks and landscaping to the property. Integrated Architecture designed the project.

Kurt Hassberger, president of Rockford Development Group, told planners the firm has acquired a number of properties in the area and is making an effort to transform the sector in ways that will benefit everyone. The construction company’s headquarters is going up at First Street and Seward Avenue NW, just a few blocks north of the residential development.

Hassberger said neighborhood associations have reacted positively to the company’s plans for the properties it recently purchased.

Planning commissioners approved the change from low-density residential to a planned redevelopment district by a 6-0 vote. City commissioners recently followed suit and ratified the zoning change.

Rockford bought the Douglas Avenue property from the Grand Voiture of Michigan last September for an unreported amount. The property has a State Equalized Value of $37,900.

The firm will raze two vacant and dilapidated buildings from the site and remove about 1,600 cubic yards of contaminated soil before work can begin. SME performed the environmental analysis for the project.

Rockford hopes to begin construction this summer and finish it early next year. 

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