A New Era of Urban Living and Shopping in Downtown Rockford

May 18, 2022

As the heart of Rockford continues to pulse with the rhythm of urban revitalization, a transformative project led by Urban Equity Properties is set to redefine the downtown experience.

The Nu-State Building: A Mid-century Makeover

The Nu-State Building, a four-story structure located at 119 N. Church St., will soon serve as the canvas for a $13.5 million redevelopment project. The building, constructed in 1951 by local contractor Max Liebling, has been a part of Rockford's urban fabric for decades. In a testament to its enduring presence, the structure, once anchored by Osco Drug from 1951 to 1983, will soon become home to 35 mostly one-bedroom lofts and an 8,000-square-foot grocery store at the ground floor​ 1​.

The renovation of this underutilized gem involves transforming the building's interior into a mid-century modern haven. The future residents of the Nu-State Apartments can look forward to a design aesthetic featuring 50s and 60s greens and oranges, Tiki light fixtures, shag carpets, and ceramic tiled showers. Bathroom floors will be laid with terrazzo or ceramic tile, and the lofts will be rented for roughly $1,200 to $1,500 per month​ 1​.

Justin Fern, the founding principal of Urban Equity Properties, highlights the distinct character that each of their developments embodies. True to this ethos, the Nu-State Building will retain its unique architectural design and feel, reflecting its historical significance while infusing it with a fresh, modern ambiance ​1​.

City Center Market: Bringing Fresh Groceries Downtown

On the ground floor of the Nu-State Building, residents and locals alike will welcome the arrival of the City Center Market. This grocery store is designed to fill a longstanding need in the downtown area, offering more than just the convenience of a corner store.

The market will focus on organic food and fresh, locally-grown produce (when in season), in addition to hosting a deli, a craft beer and wine selection, and a UPS store. The new grocery store is projected to open in the summer of 2024, offering a comprehensive shopping experience to not only downtown residents but also those from the east and west sides of the city who currently lack easy access to groceries​ 2​.

Boosting Rockford's Urban Appeal

The Nu-State project, entirely self-funded by Urban Equity Properties, is expected to be completed by late 2024 ​1​. Mayor Tom McNamara believes this development will help the city address its ongoing need for more housing options. With the downtown apartment occupancy rate above 95%, there is a clear demand for more residential spaces in the city. This new project, along with other developments like the luxury apartments at 301 S. Main St. and the Water Power Lofts in southwest Rockford, are expected to meet this demand​ 1​.

The transformation of the Nu-State Building signals an exciting chapter in Rockford's urban development, reinforcing the city's commitment to revitalization and innovation. With the melding of residential and retail spaces, the project underscores the potential of urban living and promises to enhance the vibrancy and appeal of downtown Rockford ​1​.