In recent years, West Michigan has become recognized as having one of the nation’s largest and most extensive manufacturing sectors. Starting in 2009, the region began surpassing state and national averages for job creation and investment. According to The Right Place, a local economic development organization, “this trend continues today with more than 2,500 manufacturing companies growing in the region.”
As manufacturers relocate to West Michigan, there is a shortage of suitable space but an immense need for it. Mike Mraz, Rockford’s Managing Partner of Real Estate Development says, “Continued growth is important for maintaining the region’s manufacturing sector. It is also critical for creating long-lasting, well-paying careers in West Michigan.” In 2016 alone, Talent 2025 attributes the addition of 4,422 jobs and total wages near $9 billion to continued investments in manufacturing.
Yet as the industry grows, space remains limited and companies must consider building facilities to meet their needs. To support job creation and economic growth, Rockford is currently developing build-to-suit opportunities at Walkerview Business Park where companies have easy access to open land, regional talent, and major highways.
Rockford has also been busy working with industrial clients to expand their existing spaces. Rockford Package Supply’s new building, which broke ground last year, is 110,000 sq. ft. on 16 acres. It features an open-office concept, production and chemical storage space, as well as truck dock equipment and heavy-duty pavements.
Rockford also partnered with Notions Marketing to demolish 20,000 sq. ft. of an existing building and construct a 115,000-sq. ft. high-bay structure, with a 10,000-sq. ft. single-story office structure. The addition houses three material handling equipment vendors: Opex, Dematic, and Speed Rack, and features a cross-street bridge that connects two separate buildings for material handling.
In June, Rockford completed the development of a 50-acre site and 550,000-sq. ft. distribution center (DC) for Meijer, Inc. with German material handling partner, Witron – in just ten months. Meijer DC84 features an additional 20,000-sq. ft., two-story office building that was designed while construction of the distribution center was taking place.