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$4 million redevelopment brings new life to Rockford Products site

Rockford, IL - First Midwest Group redevelops historic building on Rockford's south side, creating the opportunity to retain a local, family-owned business.




The property, located at 711 Harrison Avenue in Rockford, Illinois, was home to the Rockford Products Company, a leader in the fastener industry that at its peak employed over 2,000 people. First Midwest Group was a lender and landlord to Rockford Products in an effort to keep the fastener legend operational. After production at this site ceased, First Midwest Group embarked on a dramatic makeover which included: demolition of over 250,000 sq ft of the industrial burner and fabrication space, preservation of the iconic front entry on Harrison Ave., renovation of 110,000 sq ft of office and industrial space on the north end that is available for lease, and restoration of the southern building of 230,000 sq feet that includes a rail spur. The brick wall that defined the western wall of the building along Kishwaukee Avenue, along with its historic clock tower were preserved to offer future generations a sense of the scale of operations at this epochal site.


In another nod to the future, in mid-July First Midwest Group closed on a sale of the southern building and adjoining acreage to Viking Chemical Co (Viking). Viking, a third-generation Rockford family-owned company, had been seeking to consolidate some of its operations under one roof with room for growth.


Sunil Puri, Founder and President of First Midwest Group, indicated that he "was excited to see a third generation of family members return to call Rockford their home and to be part of a plan that allowed for Viking and its employees to remain in Rockford." He also expressed his hope that “this would send a message to the families and business owners of Rockford that we can be proud of our industrial past, and with commitment we can expand jobs and businesses here." Puri encouraged developers to join him in investing in Rockford's industrial sites to once again make us a powerhouse in the region. In another show of commitment to this industrial area, First Midwest Group also recently developed a Davita Dialysis site across the street at the southwest corner of Kishwaukee and Harrison.


Marc Whitcher, President of Viking, offered the following statement:

"Viking Chemical Co. has been an active part of the City of Rockford since it was founded by David Whitcher in 1957. Now managed by the third generation of the Whitcher family, Viking is pleased to have the opportunity to expand in Rockford and to participate with First Midwest Group in rehabilitating this part of Rockford’s industrial past. When this property becomes fully operational it will allow Viking to expand the business and enhance service to Rockford and the Midwest region."

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