Developer and Meijer plan downtown grocery store


Meijer, which operates 224 stores, began in 1938 when barber Hendrik Meijer purchased $328.76 worth of merchandise on credit to serve customers during the Great Depression. Photo via

A local developer has named Meijer as an "initial partner" in a mixed-use development that it is planning for the downtown area.

Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction said Monday that it has preliminary plans for a neighborhood grocery store in Grand Rapids on the northwest corner of Bridge Street NW and Seward Avenue NW. The full development would stretch along the block northeast of Stocking Avenue NW and Bridge Street NW.

The west-side grocery store would be a retail concept by Grand Rapids-based Meijer. Other pieces of the development would include additional first-floor retail, upper-level housing and office space and on-site parking.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we can’t do this alone,” said Mike VanGessel, CEO, Rockford Construction. “This project will be a collaboration among several critical partners to bring grocery, as well as other vital services and amenities to neighborhood residents.”

Rockford said "overwhelming requests for a neighborhood grocery store" led to conversations with Meijer, a "long-time partner" of the firm. Two blocks from the planned Meijer location is a Duthler's Family Foods.

VanGessel added that the grocery store would be a smaller concept than other Meijer locations, to better fit a neighborhood.

“We are very pleased to be presented with the opportunity to partner with Rockford Construction in this exciting development,” said Rick Keyes, president, Meijer. “Rockford has been a strategic partner to Meijer for many years, and while it’s still early in the planning stages, we are confident that we’ll be able to provide a neighborhood grocery store that will complement this project.”

Rockford noted that it is seeking additional tenant partners, funding incentives and "more" for the project.

As the project moves forward, Rockford expects to incorporate pieces from the West Side Area Specific Plan and GR Forward.

“A lot of good work has been done to capture the area’s desires for this established business corridor,” Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said. “Rockford’s vision supports the kind of vibrant, mixed-use development that brings crucial services like a neighborhood grocery store to one of our city’s neighborhoods.”

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