Rockford moves into Detroit market


The first phase of The Mid consists of a 25-story building, which includes a hotel and luxury condos. Rendering Courtesy Rockford Construction

After years of digging into the greater Detroit market, Grand Rapids-based Rockford Construction landed a major contract as the development manager for a $310-million construction project in downtown Detroit.

Rockford Construction will break ground on the first phase of The Mid, a mixed-use development at 3750 Woodward Ave., this summer.

Shane Napper, president of construction for Rockford Construction, said the company has spent several years building client relationships in the Detroit area.

“We’ve done work there for a number of years,” he said. “We made a corporate decision to invest in the community and opened our office there a few years ago.

“The decision to open a satellite office was Rockford’s first step toward engaging in the community. Since we’ve had an office there, the ability to get to know the community has allowed us to be introduced.”

The Mid is owned by 3750 Woodward Ave. LLC, tied to Mohammad Qazi, CEO of Ciena Healthcare. Qazi did not offer comment at press time.

Rockford is providing development management services, allowing the company to maintain all facets of the project, including managing the budget and schedule, hiring and managing consultants, and writing requests for proposals for the construction manager, architects, interior designers and other interested parties.

The entire project, which sits on a vacant, 3.78-acre L-shaped property between Woodward Avenue and John R Street, is broken up into three phases. It’s expected to be complete in December 2020.

The first phase will begin with a 25-story building, 16 stories of which will be a hotel under Thompson luxury brands, and nine stories will be dedicated to luxury condos. The tentative plans call for 228 hotel rooms and 60 condo units.

“Right now, food and beverage is a major discussion, as well as some of the normal hotel stuff,” Napper said. “There will be the ability for a fitness center. We’re trying to get that figured out.”

There also will be about 750 parking spaces, 325 of which will be underground, and another 419 will be above ground.

On top of the underground parking will be the hotel lobby, along with restaurants and retail.

The first phase of The Mid comprises $195 million of the total $310 million investment. Napper said funding comes through a mix of financing incentives. The project also is going in for brownfield reimbursement for eligible activities.

DLR is the architect, and interior design is provided by Curioso out of Chicago, which Napper said has experience and understands how to execute the Thompson brand.

Napper added Thompson will manage both the hotel and the condominiums, providing concierge-style services to both hotel guests and condo owners.

“You got all your people running the hotel, and those people provide services for the condominiums,” Napper said. “What an advantage to be downtown but also you get this concierge-type service.”

Currently, there are no floor plans for the individual condos as the developers wish to keep it flexible and build according to prospective condo owners’ wishes, Napper said.

Birmingham-based Max Broock Realtors will serve as the condominium broker, and CBRE in Southfield is the broker of record and owner’s representative.

For phase two, Rockford has rough plans to build a 30-story apartment building facing John R Street. The tower will feature first-floor retail and five stories of parking on top of it. The remaining stories will be dedicated to apartments.

The apartment tower will connect to a 12-story building with retail on the first floor and “co-living” housing above that.

“What that is, is instead of renting a room, this is the ability to rent by the bed,” Napper said. “This has the ability to support students but also medical people.”

A single-story retail building also will be built facing Woodward Avenue.

The developer will have a public plaza running through the development and connecting Woodward Avenue to John R Street.

Groundbreaking for the next phases could take place four or five months after construction begins on phase one.

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