301 apartment building in downtown Rockford should wrap in summer 2022
ROCKFORD – Justin Fern’s latest project is changing the landscape of downtown Rockford with construction of its first privately-owned multistory building in 25 years.
The $7.2 million Urban Equity Properties project at 301 S. Main St. broke ground in May but has in recent weeks sprang to life with the arrival and installation of interior walls that were fabricated offsite.
“Everything from soup to nuts is luxury,” Fern said. “It’s expensive, and it’s going to be a different level for Rockford.”
The skeleton of the fourth floor will be constructed and installed this week. The building’s envelope will be complete by mid-December. Floor-to-ceiling apartment windows offering views of downtown Rockford, Davis Park and the Rock River will be installed next month.
People could be living in new luxury apartments at the building dubbed “301” next summer.
It will feature an accessible, marble-floored lobby, space to keep package deliveries safe and organized, and 3,200-square-feet of retail space on the first floor.
There will be 33 apartments in all, three of which will be two-bedrooms and 30 that will be one-bedroom units. Rent will range from $1,195 on the ground floor to about $1,600 a month for two-bedroom units on the fourth floor. They all will have granite kitchen countertops, high-end cabinets and wide-plank hardwood floors, Fern said.
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Features include a fifth-floor rooftop deck, a second-floor fitness center filled with Peloton exercise equipment and a tenant lounge that can be used to entertain guests.
Located on the site of the former Hanley Furniture building that burned down in 2017, it is the first privately owned multistory building to be built in downtown Rockford since the 1996 construction of the Hinshaw & Culbertson office at 100 Park Ave.
Accustomed to historic redevelopment and adaptive reuse projects, Fern says his foray into new construction has been a breeze. Gone are the headaches associated with finding surprise problems that are so common with the aged industrial, factory and office buildings he specializes into transforming into residential lofts.
Although the pandemic hurt downtown Rockford and forced some restaurants and businesses to close, Fern says they are starting to make a come back. Fern said most of his properties are almost fully occupied and that there is a waiting list to move into the fully rented Burnham Lofts, 202 W. State St., and the Residences at Talcott, 321 W. State St.
“It comes down to offering a product that no one else is doing in Rockford,” Fern said. “We’re trying to build the best apartments in the region and something that Rockford hasn’t seen before. We’re trying to be the best at what we do.”
Jeff Kolkey: [email protected]; @jeffkolkey