Rockford Development unveils new project

The Grand Rapids Brownfield Redevelopment Authority gave its blessing to a new residential project for the city’s northwest side, which is the first step to make the proposal a reality.

Rockford Development plans to invest $2.4 million into a four-building residential complex on the corner of Douglas Street and Seward Avenue, just a block south of Bridge Street. The property was home to an American Legion building that closed in 2007. The site offers about 17,000 square feet of buildable space.

“Our plan is to build four residential units,” said Mike Mraz, vice president of development for Rockford Development.

The buildings, which include a two-story townhouse, will have 18 residences ranging from studio apartments to two-bedroom units. Mraz said the project also will have a community room and fitness area and will offer on-site parking.

The property is in the Stockbridge Business District and within blocks of Grand Valley State University’s Eberhard and Pew campuses.

“These are market-rate apartments, not subsidized. Prices haven’t been established yet,” said Mraz. “It could be a good fit for students and young professionals.”

The site qualifies as a Part 201 facility under the state’s environmental protection act. Some volatile organic compounds and metals have been detected in the soil and the groundwater. SME Environmental is working with Rockford Development on the project.

The development qualifies for tax-increment financing because Rockford plans to spend $600,000 on demolition and remediation work. The firm bought the property last September.

Mraz said the four buildings total 15,000 square feet of space. He said construction could begin this summer and be finished by next spring.

“This could, I believe, be replicated elsewhere,” he said of the project’s concept.

“It’s a very interesting project,” said Brian Smits, vice chairman of the brownfield authority.

The project’s brownfield plan will go to city commissioners for their review.

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