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Rockford Construction considers Grand Rapids West Side factory for possible relocation to downtown


After several years of working out of its headquarters in Cascade Township, Rockford Construction has almost decided to move its operations to a vacant factory building on Grand Rapids' West Side. The move is dependent on city and state approval of a nearly $1.2 million Brownfield Redevelopment Authority tax credit to help pay for the abatement of chemical contamination at the former Miller Products manufacturing site, 601 First St. NW.

If approved, work on the site could begin in late July. The $4.7 million project includes razing part of the existing building, the construction of an infill building and a proposed multi-story addition, plus the creation of new green space for a courtyard, says Mike VanGessel, founding partner.

"This is a heavy industrial site, so the [contamination] cleanup is pretty extensive," VanGessel says. "This has nice exposure, a lot of room for growth for us, and it's a corporate culture thing to be able to get us all on one floor. It allows us to become more efficient, and puts us in a walkable community that we love."

About 85 of Rockford's 170 employees work at the headquarters and will move with the relocation, which will also bring all of Rockford's three companies -- Rockford Construction, Rockford Development and Rockford Trades -- under one roof for the first time.

Rockford has been instrumental in redeveloping several major areas of downtown Grand Rapids, including GRid70, the Steketee Building, The Shops @ Monroe Center & Division (MoDiv), the Grand Rapids Art Museum and Cathedral Square.

Source: Mike VanGessel, Rockford Construction
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
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