More restaurants and retail set to come to Midtown District - – Rockford’s News Leader

More restaurants and retail set to come to Midtown District


Some may look at the Midtown District and see empty store fronts up and down 7th Street. But others, see potential for something more. 

"Midtown overall has some of the best building stock in the city," Justin Fern, the President of Urban Equity Properties says. "It really has more history than pretty much every part of the city." 

And now, developers like Fern say prepare to see that potential come to life. 

Urban Equity Properties says one of these store fronts is going to become a pizzeria. But, this isn't the only business popping up in Midtown. Just up the road, you'll find an empty barber shop. The developer of that space says he wants to turn it into a retail space. 

"We're wide open to what it could be. I'll build it out to what anybody wants. If they want to put a barber shop or a beauty shop there we could do that." 

Lambert bought a building in the 600 block of 7th Street back in December. Part of his plan includes revamping apartment areas on the upper level and even moving his own business into the building. 

"The area originally fell into a lot of disrepair. You know, seedy stuff in the street and we're trying to run that out of here," he says.   

The city says it's been doing that for the past couple of years.

"The city has put millions of dollars in the redesign of 7th Street, adding lighting, planters which has really contributed to the walk ability of that corridor," says Karl Franzen, the economic development coordinator for the City of Rockford.

The city also adds that an ice cream shop is also set to come to the area. 

There's no specific timeline for when all these planned shops are going to open. But, Urban Equity Properties and Lambert say they're shooting for this summer. 

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