32 Market Ave SW - Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Corner Bar demolition complete, restoration begins

Rockford Squire
Published 4 / 27 / 18

Orion Construction has completed demolition of the iconic Corner Bar in downtown Rockford and has now begun construction, including an extensive restoration of the facade, at 31 North Main Street. The original structure, built in 1873, was all but destroyed in a fire in August 2017. After Orion did an initial building assessment and subsequent clean-up of the site, the owners waded through the insurance process before construction could commence.

The demolition process took approximately two months to complete. The Northeast corner and east-facing façade were salvageable and the architect incorporated this remaining portion of the original structure in the new building design.

Owner, Jeff Wolfe stated, “Unfortunately almost the entire building was destroyed. We were lucky enough to be able to salvage a few components, including the front façade. It would have been easier to demolish the entire building and start new but it was important to us to do everything we could to preserve the old walls.  We want the community to have something to remember their old memories and time spent at the Corner growing up.”

Orion Construction, the general contractor, will rebuild a 10,000 sq. ft. restaurant/bar on the footprint of what once was Rockford’s oldest brick building. The building will be rebuilt with steel and block construction. The work flow between the kitchen and dining room will be improved and the interior will be upgraded. A second floor event space and outdoor patio will be also be added. The famous hotdog wall-of-fame will be re-created with the original names from decades of tradition. The exterior will almost be completely re-built. Minor site considerations are being made to create better flow on site.

Henrickson Architecture provided exterior architectural work and we are in the beginning stages of collaboration on the interior with them. The new design incorporates all salvageable elements of the original structure into a modern building with character and class.

Co-owner, Sarah Wolfe noted, “The beauty of the Corner is in our patrons and the times they’ve shared here with family and friends.  Unfortunately, we realize that we are not going to be able to completely recreate the look and feel of a 100 year old building, but it is not really about the bricks and walls.  The heart and soul of the Corner is the community and we are excited for the future.  We look forward to making new memories and are ready to begin the next chapter of the Corner Bar story.”

The project is expected to take seven months to complete and the owners hope to re-open in the summer 2018.


About Orion Construction Inc. – Orion, founded in 2000, is a multi-service construction company and development firm in West Michigan with a mission of revitalizing urban cores and local economies through high quality new construction, renovation, restoration and design/build services. The firm specializes in mixed-use development, industrial, institutional, retail and multi-family construction. Orion is widely recognized throughout Michigan as a leader in developing successful public/private partnerships and working with neighborhoods and local governments to achieve mutually beneficial and economically sustainable projects. 

Visit www.orionbuilt.com

About The Corner Bar – Built in 1873, The Corner Bar building at 31 North Main Street is the oldest brick building in the town of Rockford, Michigan. During the early 1930s, the Corner Bar was a pool hall owned by Carl Hyde, and later his son, Charles Hyde, and operated by Harold Bailey Sr. and Howard Bailey. Donald R. Berg purchased The Corner Bar in 1965, and in 1968 created the Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Soon, numerous champions were competing to have their name on the wall. Today, Jeff Wolfe continues to uphold the great traditions and legacy of this historic establishment while continuing to make enhancements to the dining experience and contributing to the Rockford community.