The Shell R. Smith building will soon have a new face and function. The two-story building at 317 to 325 W. Jefferson St. housed Rockford Business College until the 1980s, a music club, dance studio and Minglewood, before it relocated to the corner of Broadway and Ninth Street.
Partners at Urban Equity Properties said the building will contain three retail spaces on the first floor and six loft apartments on the upper level. Construction is scheduled to be completed by November.
Each residential unit will come with an average of 1,500 square feet, new mechanicals and a mixture of restored cosmetics and new fixtures. The first floor will remain commercial, with updated units as well. Leases are available before completion.
Urban Equity Properties is composed of partners Mark Baker, Zachary Baker and Justin Fern. They said they are excited to turn the building into a mixed-use property and will manage the building instead of selling it for immediate profit. The company acts as general contractor on all its projects.
“The philosophy of the company is to identify, purchase, rehab and manage properties of historical and/or architectural significance, with an emphasis on long-term ownership,” said partner Mark Baker, whose office is at 317 Market St., in the historic Rockford Illustration Company building. “The three partners bring a mix of experience, including small business ownership, finance, management and technology.”
The project comes in time for residential tenants to take advantage of new downtown zoning ordinance revisions, allowing certain apartment dwellers such as writers and artists to utilize live/work spaces without being required to secure a business license.
More information about Urban Equity Properties can be found by calling the firm at (815) 904-6696.
from the July 29-August 4, 2009, issue