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Rockford Construction to cut ribbon on new facility

Sep 10th, 2013 - Local News

According to Mlive, Rockford Construction Co. CEO Mike VanGessel wants to help set a new tone for the old West Side neighborhood in which he was raised and his 26-year-old company.

That campaign starts with the 33,000 square foot headquarters that VanGessel will show off to the community at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 10.

Formerly an industrial painting facility that had sat empty for years, the new headquarters at 601 First Street NW is a sleek and modern office building with all of the energy saving tools and tricks needed to give it a Gold LEED certification. “We see this as a very strategic move.”

The $4.7 million project is a key part of VanGessel’s goal to continue a revitalization of the West Side along the Seward Avenue Corridor.

“The reason we need to be here is that culturally we want to move into an urban environment so we can walk our talk,” he said.

VanGessel said the project also had to make economic sense and did make economic sense for his company, which is developing a reputation for building sustainable urban structures in “brownfield” settings.

By re-using 95 percent of the existing Miller Products building, VanGessel says his company saved over the cost of building a new office building on a green field in the suburbs.

Most of the building uses existing walls and flooring from the old building. But the floor has been elevated 18 inches to conceal the data cables, plumbing, heating and cooling ducts.

While the company now operates in 33,000 square feet of space compared to 40,000 square feet in its old headquarters in Cascade Township, VanGessel said the new offices are designed to create more flexible work space for collaboration.

The new headquarters also pulls together various elements of Rockford Construction that had been dispersed throughout West Michigan in recent years.

One aspect that won’t change is the company’s “Rockford” name despite its local association with the town that serves as a bedroom suburb for Grand Rapids.

After more than 3,500 projects worth more than $2.9 billion, the 26-year-old company is too well known by that name inside and outside the region to warrant a change, VanGessel said.

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