Wolverine Waterfront Complex

Wolverine presents responsible approach to tannery site redevelopment

June 17, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL At the May City of Rockford Planning Commission meeting, Wolverine World Wide (WWW) offered up a conceptual proposal and rendition of the company’s plans for redevelopment of the tannery facility. The following in verbatim is the verbiage of that spring 2010 update. “Following Wolverine World Wide’s 2009 decision to close our Rockford, Michigan-based tanning facility, the Company has been engaged in exploring future options for the centrally located, 15-acre site. This process, which has continued to involve discussions with the City of Rockford and area officials, is intended to fulfill Wolverine’s stated intent to ‘do something special for the community and the City of Rockford on this unique waterfront property in the heart of downtown.’ “The Company’s current plans call for a patient, flexible and responsible approach to redeveloping the former tannery site. Our approach is guided by two important objectives: preserving and enhancing the overall economic vitality of the City of Rockford; ensuring that any future development of the site is sustainable over the long term. “Pursuing sustainable development means taking into account the challenges posed by today’s economy. The downturn has taken a heavy toll on real estate investment and development activity, both regionally and nationally. As a result, there are currently fewer potential partners with the resources for implementing a broad, near-term plan for the site. On a related note, the economic downturn has been hard on existing Rockford businesses. Any new development activity must be considered in light of current and projected consumer demand. “While these challenges do not preclude our working with interested partners to pursue a comprehensive redevelopment plan, Wolverine believes it is in the best interests of both the community and the Company to focus on smaller-scale initiatives in the near term that can help lay the groundwork for additional development activity in the future. “Wolverine is currently in the process of working with City and state officials to move ahead with two specific projects: constructing a new Wolverine retail store at the south end of the vacant property. (3.7 acres of the 15 total acres of the site.) Our enhanced retail presence would replace the Company’s Rockford Footwear Depot at 235 N. Main Street and provide an added “draw” for the portion […]