Rockford company transforming old buildings downtown into modern apartments

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The revitalization of downtown Rockford buildings into apartments and lofts isn’t slowing down in 2022.

Urban Equity Properties has been around for 15 years and have played a role in giving downtown Rockford a facelift.

CEO Justin Fern says the company isn’t slowing down.

“When we first started, we were going building to building and now we’re going block to block, and I think at this point, we’ve had major success in downtown Rockford,” Fern said.

The management company has been steadily transforming properties in downtown into apartments and retail space.

“Seeing all the transitions, from 15 years ago to seeing it today, is a completely different landscape,” he said. “We’re excited about that. It’s super important to us. It’s like finishing a fine piece of art.”

Urban Equity has sometimes torn a building down to build something new, and other times taken historic properties, like the Rockford Trust Building, at 202 W. State Street, and given them new life, as the Burnham Lofts, or the former BMO Harris Bank building, at 401-413 7th Street, into the Midtown Lofts.

“We have most of the high rises done. They’ve been converted to residential or hotels. Mid-rises have been converted, or are occupied by offices There are a few still left, but not as many as there used to be,” Fern said.

Fern says the company is preparing to complete other projects, like the Water Power Lofts, at 700 S. Main Street, south of the Embassy Suites Hotel.

And, there’s “The 301.”

“That’s at 301 S. Main Street, across from the BMO [Harris Bank Center]. The name of the project is ‘301.’ It’s the first new construction in 50 years for multi-family, market-rate housing, with ground floor retail,” he said.

Fern says downtown Rockford has a completely different look and feel than it did two decades ago.

“Now we’re running close to 100% occupancy with our residential and our retail and restaurant spaces, as a whole, so we’re super excited about downtown Rockford,” he said.

Fern said the “301” project is on schedule to open in July.

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