Rockford Construction opens model apartment as leasing office at the historic Morton | People
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Sept. 23, 2014 – Beginning Wednesday, September 24, Rockford Construction will open an apartment leasing office at the 91-year-old historic Morton Hotel located at 70 Monroe Center. The leasing office, located on the ground floor of the The Morton, features a full-size living area and kitchen, similar to those being constructed in the building’s upper floors, and is located within a newly constructed glass storefront making the site highly visible from Monroe Center. Individuals wishing to lease apartments or commercial space in The Morton will be able to begin securing reservations.
Once opened, the Morton will feature at least 100 market-rate apartments, ground floor retail and restaurant space, and opportunities for a variety of users. Portions of the historic lobby and balcony will be restored while the upper levels will be renovated to provide modern heating and cooling systems, improved layouts for residents, technology infrastructure and other tenant amenities.
“We are excited to be able to showcase how modern apartments will fit into this historic building in the heart of Grand Rapids’ downtown,” said Mike Mraz, partner, real estate development at Rockford Construction. “The timing to have the space open during ArtPrize allows us an opportunity to show a large-scale audience what the future holds for The Morton.”
The Morton is also home to SiTE:LAB for the duration of ArtPrize 2014, September 24 – October 12. The lobby and several larger spaces will be filled with unique art installations, which are available for viewing by the general public.
The Morton Hotel was built at a cost of $1.5 million (about $21 million in 2014 dollars) in 1922-23, helping meet a growing need for exhibition space and high-quality rooms. As the Morton project was announced, so too was the Rowe Hotel (later Olds Manor) and an expansion at the Pantlind. In the decades to follow, all three hotels would compete for the businessmen who flocked to Furniture City USA to purchase and sell the latest wares.
In 2011 Rockford Construction acquired the Morton House, recognizing its central location and its place in Grand Rapids history. Over the past two years, the company has utilized its experience in adaptive reuse of historic buildings to formulate a plan that will reactivate The Morton as a mixed-use building with market-rate apartments.
Interior demolition began in late 2013 after environmental abatement was completed, and Rockford has been uncovering frescoed ceilings, ornate wood and plaster detailing, and even an old bank vault. At the same time, the project’s Facebook page, TheMortonGR, has received a number of posts from Grand Rapids residents that include articles, artifacts, and personal stories about The Morton Hotel. The Morton’s website, www.themortongr.com, has additional information about the apartments.
The Morton Leasing office will be open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. during ArtPrize. The Morton’s first residents are expected to move in during the autumn of 2015.