Rockford Construction set off to the west side of Grand Rapids to support the city’s growing population of Grand Valley State University students by ensuring adequate housing options. The proposed site was primarily vacant land left over from the realignment of Seward Avenue NW. The Fulton Place development, which opened August 2016, required demolishing old structures to make room for the new building and help revitalize this old part of town.

Rockford retained SME to provide environmental services (i.e. Phase I and II environmental site assessments, soil gas mitigation, BEA and due care), geotechnical engineering and Construction Materials Services (CMS).

Our Senior Project Engineer, Andy Bolton PE, kept in close contact with Rockford and attended the project’s pre-bid meeting. While reviewing the plans, he saw an opportunity for value engineering. The original design called for an earth retention system (ERS) using tangential augered cast-in-place (ACIP) piles, which would have cost approximately $750k and required time consuming special permission from the City of Grand Rapids. SME redesigned the ERS using cantilevered sheeting that did not require special permission, thus saving the project time and over $500k.

This $35-million residential project offers the opportunity for more housing options in this re-emerging part of Grand Rapids. Residents have the ability to live, work, play and feel part of the community 24 hours a day. There’s a strong connection to the urban core of the City, yet there’s also a comfortable scale to it. More people are opening their eyes to the potential that Grand Rapids offers.

Fulton Place is made up of three buildings near the west edge of GVSU’s Pew campus, and includes 10,000 square feet of retail space on the ground level. The first building at 13,000 square feet has seven, 3-story townhomes ranging from 1,400-2,000 square feet. The second 3-story building is 5,500 square feet and houses three, 3-bedroom apartments. The third building is 125,000 square feet. This 5-story building has 102 apartments that are a mix of loft and one-, two- and four-bedroom units. This housing development includes an underground parking structure that extends roughly 7 feet below grade and is adjacent to a city-owned alley.