View Full Version : Fargo-Moorhead developments information

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Jun 10, 2009, 10:18 PM
I can't find anything online about the condos north of Main (the ones that are built but not finished). Any info?:shrug:

Jun 10, 2009, 11:16 PM
I've never been able to find anything online about the condos north of Main. And i don't know if it's been mentioned on her but a yoga/pilates club has opened in that building.

construction has started on the final condo/apartment building in downtown Moorhead near the other apartments.

hellerz, i haven't heard anything about Dave and Busters moving in there but that'd be a great location and a great addition.

now i was thinking the other day that there is no downtown visitors center for either fargo or moorhead. i think if they wanted to ever put one downtown the old train depot on Main would be a good location.

Jun 13, 2009, 5:39 AM
Gate City to upgrade downtown building
Gate City Bank has begun a $4.1 million renovation of its downtown Fargo building.

By: Jon Knutson, INFORUM

Gate City Bank has begun a $4.1 million renovation of its downtown Fargo building.

The project will add needed space for the growing banking company and enhance the building’s appearance, said Steve Swiontek, chairman, president and CEO.

Work on the building – which serves as both Gate City’s corporate office and downtown Fargo branch office – is expected to be completed next summer.

The project will include:

• Adding and renovating interior space to provide 10 more office rooms, increasing privacy for customers when they’re opening accounts and talking about loans.

• Improving energy efficiency by about 15 percent.

• Enhancing the building’s appearance, including improved sidewalk, increased lighting and architectural changes to the building’s exterior.

“That’s a real skyline project,” Dave Anderson, president and CEO of the Downtown Community Partnership, said of the building’s future appearance.

The project reflects Gate City’s recent growth and its deep roots in downtown Fargo, Swiontek said.

The bank’s assets surpassed $1 billion last year, and companywide employment has grown to 390.

The downtown Fargo location has 130 employees, a number that could rise by five or six in the next year, company officials said.

Swiontek said no work on executive offices will be done during the project.

Gate City serves 19 communities in North Dakota and western Minnesota.

“We’re very optimistic about the future of North Dakota and western Minnesota,” which contributed to the bank’s decision to go ahead with the project, Swiontek said.

Gate City Bank was founded in downtown Fargo in 1923. Its current building was constructed in 1956.

Swiontek said the many recent building improvements in downtown Fargo encouraged his company to enhance the appearance of its building.

The project will not involve Renaissance Zone funds, Swiontek said.

“We didn’t think that was appropriate,” he said, adding that he believes in what the Renaissance Zone is doing.

Renaissance Zone incentives help to encourage investment in downtown properties.

Gate City this spring completed major renovation and expansion projects at its West Fargo and downtown Moorhead offices.

The West Fargo project, which cost about $900,000, included three more offices for customer service, new drive-up equipment and expanded parking and landscaping.

The Moorhead project, which cost about $800,000, included another office for customer service and new drive-up equipment.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530



Jun 13, 2009, 10:04 PM
Does anyone know anymore about this or even heard of it?


Jun 13, 2009, 11:00 PM

We're getting more active with our website and blog. We even have some video coming out tomorrow.

You'll see four buildings going UP this year if all goes as planned. Pediatric Therapy Partners will build their new building just south of Cheetah Mart on 45th, Starion Bank will build just north of Cheetah Mart, Taco Bell (insert Mexican food joke here), will build just north of Mexican Village, and we'll have our first residential units started as well.

We're working on a bunch of other things, including a market study on restaurants. We have group here today looking at what concepts will work.

Let me know what questions you guys have. And stay tuned, we've got some big things on the horizon.......

Outback Steakhouse (still don't know why they closed place was packed all the time)
P.F. Changs Chinese Bistro
Axels Bonfire ( get them to build up here great Twin Cities area chain)
Champs American Sports bar
and we really need a seafood type place in FM that would go huge!!
also a Brazilian Steakhouse of some sort would go well also

Jun 14, 2009, 2:57 AM
Outback Steakhouse (still don't know why they closed place was packed all the time)
P.F. Changs Chinese Bistro
Axels Bonfire ( get them to build up here great Twin Cities area chain)
Champs American Sports bar
and we really need a seafood type place in FM that would go huge!!
also a Brazilian Steakhouse of some sort would go well also

Red Robin
Macaroni Grill
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Bubba Gump
Bonefish Grill
tony romas

but definitely more seafood

also Yuki Hana sushi closed in town but on their door it says a new restaurant is coming soon. hopefully it's something with sushi still

Jun 14, 2009, 12:14 PM
Red Robin
Macaroni Grill
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
Bubba Gump
Bonefish Grill
tony romas

but definitely more seafood

also Yuki Hana sushi closed in town but on their door it says a new restaurant is coming soon. hopefully it's something with sushi still

I can't believe there isn't a Chipotle yet, and also Yuki Hana was destined to close if they got any competition as their service was horrible, I have been in there for just a couple pieces of sushi and it took over an hour, can't run a business like that in this economy. IMO the Sushi at Kobe's and Sushi Time in the Kelly Inn are better anyways

Jun 16, 2009, 8:04 PM
Heard a rumour on the Bisonville.com F-M restaurants thread that Cheesecake Factory already has blueprints for their new restaurant in front of the new Hilton on 17th Ave. Looks like they will start construction soon.

Also, the Taco Bell on 19th Ave. North across from NDSU campus that burnt down during the holidays is almost resurrected. They're hiring new staff now, and will open sometime in July.

Jun 19, 2009, 4:14 AM
Building 101: Campuses have numerous facility projects under way
By: By Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

Crews are nearing completion on two North Dakota State University projects that will bring an average of 4,000 students to downtown Fargo.

Richard H. Barry Hall, the former Pioneer Mutual Life building that will soon be NDSU’s largest academic building, will be ready for students this fall.

Faculty and staff expect to move into the 135,000-square-foot building in early August. Billboards advertising the new facility have popped up all over Fargo.

“There’s a tremendous excitement around the new building,” said Tim Peterson, associate dean for NDSU’s College of Business that will occupy the facility.

“There’s so many things that we dreamed about doing that we just can’t do with the space that we’ve got.”

Another project that needs to be done by this fall is an apartment-retail project being completed by Cityscapes Development. NDSU will not own the building, but will manage part of it for student housing.

On the main campus, work on the NDSU president’s house is expected to be done in early August.

NDSU also is constructing the first phase of a new greenhouse facility. Work should be completed in December or January, said Bruce Frantz, director of facilities management. The building will have two more phases.

In conjunction with road work on 12th Avenue North, NDSU also is improving some infrastructure and upgrading the entrance to the Music Education building.

Other local campuses also have projects under way:

- Minnesota State University Moorhead is in the first phase of a $13 million renovation to Lommen Hall, a project funded by the Minnesota Legislature during the 2008 session.

This stage involves remodeling the west end of the 75-year-old building, which housed the early childhood program, the social work department and classrooms. Work is expected to continue through January.

The second phase involves offices and classrooms in the east end of the building. Work will begin next spring.

MSUM also is doing some upgrades in King Hall and an entryway at the connection of MacLean and Flora Frick halls.

- Minnesota State Community and Technical College Moorhead is constructing a $1.3 million mechanical trades lab that was funded by the 2008 Legislature.

The new facility will house the existing refrigeration and air conditioning programs and allow the campus to add new programs. It is expected to be completed this fall.

MSCTC also is working with an architect to design a three-story classroom and library building.

- Concordia College is constructing a 1,340-square-foot building on college property near Detroit Lakes that will be a teaching and applied research facility, said spokesman Roger Degerman.

The facility on Long Lake is expected to be completed in mid-August and will be used by biology and environmental studies.

Concordia also is doing a $500,000 upgrade to Fjelstad Hall, a residence hall.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590



Jun 19, 2009, 4:16 AM
Heard a rumor on the Bisonville.com F-M restaurants thread that Cheesecake Factory already has blueprints for their new restaurant in front of the new Hilton on 17th Ave. Looks like they will start construction soon.

Also, the Taco Bell on 19th Ave. North across from NDSU campus that burnt down during the holidays is almost resurrected. They're hiring new staff now, and will open sometime in July.

that's awesome news! i hope outback steakhouse leases the other pad site

Jun 19, 2009, 5:58 PM
Made the mistake of choosing the Golden Corral in Fargo for dinner last week, between the truly horrible food and the freak show of the morbidly obese it wasn't a pleasant experience!:yuck:

Jun 19, 2009, 9:44 PM
Made the mistake of choosing the Golden Corral in Fargo for dinner last week, between the truly horrible food and the freak show of the morbidly obese it wasn't a pleasant experience!:yuck:

Hey, I actually like Golden Corral's food. Not a fan of the clientele though. You can tell a lot of the people there are Sioux fans, due to the greasy mullets and stained shirts.

Jun 19, 2009, 10:31 PM
Hey, I actually like Golden Corral's food. Not a fan of the clientele though. You can tell a lot of the people there are Sioux fans, due to the greasy mullets and stained shirts.


Jun 22, 2009, 4:08 AM
With all this talk about flood protection and stuff I was just wondering what other people preferred. Levees? Diversion? Waffle grid?

Jun 22, 2009, 7:17 AM
I would prefer the diversion but since that doesn't seem too feasible cost-wise, I guess the levees.

Jun 23, 2009, 8:01 AM
If you really wanted to have a buffet the North American Steak Buffet is a much better option. I'm not really a big buffet guy though, but one time at the Golden Corral was enough for me.

I think the diversion has no chance, I'd go with levees along with some kind of retention plan to the south.

Jun 24, 2009, 1:15 AM
I personally want the diversion as well but don't think it will happen at the same time. I think it will be a combination of the cheapest things

Jun 26, 2009, 6:21 PM
Is Charlie's Ice Cream downtown closed?

I've tried to go a few times during business hours and nobody's there...

Jun 26, 2009, 9:08 PM
I'm pretty sure it's still open. I went there not too long ago.

Jul 1, 2009, 2:39 PM
People voted in Flood Protection Tax with Kim Jong-Il-like numbers. I'm guessing this leaves all options on the table.

Did you see the coalition that is trying to get diversion channels on the ND side?


Jul 1, 2009, 4:15 PM
2008 Census Estimates

Fargo - 93,531 up from 90,599
West Fargo - 23,708 up from 14,940 a 58% increase:worship:
Moorhead - 36,012 up from 32,177
Dilworth - 3,677 up from 3,001
Horace - 1,757 up from 915
Harwood - 701 up from 607


Jul 1, 2009, 9:01 PM
Historic Fargo neighborhood named among best in nation
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Tracy Carter doesn’t need This Old House to tell her the historic south Fargo neighborhood in which she lives is one of the best in the nation.

She’s wanted to live there since she was a child.

“I loved the big trees and the woodwork inside the homes, the open staircases,” Carter said from the front porch of her Ninth Street home. “It’s just charming. It’s a step back in time.”

This Old House magazine’s Web site features the Fargo South Residential District as one of its Best Old House Neighborhoods in the nation.

The district, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, begins four blocks south of the central business district and seven to eight blocks west of the Red River. It continues south to 17th Avenue South, bordered by Seventh and Ninth Streets South.

The Fargo neighborhood is among 51 chosen, one from each state and Canada, based on architectural diversity, craftsmanship of the homes, preservation momentum in the area, and neighborhood amenities such as walkability, safety and community.

“If you like lush, green lawns and tree-lined streets, the Fargo’s Southside District is where you want to be,” the article, featuring a Fargo home on Eighth Street and 11th Avenue, stated.

It also highlighted the neighborhood’s gaslight-replica streetlamps, mix of architectural styles, and historic homes.

“I like the difference in the housing architecture,” said Terry Adams, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1975. “Generally no two houses look the same.”

Realtor Tracy Green with Realty Executives is not at all surprised the Fargo neighborhood was featured.

“It’s a place people want to live, and it does look classy when you drive down the street,” she said.

This Old House also recognized the historic district in the categories for The Midwest, single women homebuyers, college towns, families, walking, green thumbs, retirees and small-business owners.

Realtor Linda Jalbert with Town and Country Realty, who was quoted in the This Old House article, said people like the character of the old homes.

“They like the woodwork, the beautiful floors, the high ceilings, French doors, all the details. A lot of the rooms are quite big and spacious, too,” she said.

Editors used PreservationDirectory.com, neighborhood groups, real estate agents, and preservation societies, to compile their lists.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526


Jul 1, 2009, 9:02 PM
Titan building new headquarters
By: Jon Knutson, INFORUM

Fast-growing Titan Machinery is building a new headquarters along Interstate 94 in West Fargo and expects to move into the building next March.

The company, which sells farm and construction equipment, currently is based at 4876 Rocking Horse Circle in Fargo.

“We’ve outgrown our space here,” said David Meyer, the company’s chief executive officer.

The new building, which the company refers as its “shared resources office,” will house human resources, accounting and other backroom activities.

The new location, the cost of which the company is not disclosing, will be a two-story, 48,200-square-foot building at 644 E. Beaton Drive, said Patrick Fisher, the company’s vice president/construction division.

Titan’s headquarters now occupies 22,000 square feet of space at two sites in Fargo, including 12,000 square feet at the Rocking Horse Circle location.

About 70 people work at the two sites.

Fisher said the new location will include extensive training space for company employees.

Work on the new building was slowed by spring flooding, but construction progress will become increasingly noticeable in the next few months, he said.

Titan Machinery operates 67 farm and construction equipment dealerships in seven states, including North Dakota and Minnesota.

Its revenue has grown by an average of 44 percent per year over the past five years.

Through acquisitions, it has added 48 store locations in the past five years.

Meyer said the company is always exploring new opportunities for growth.

The company’s operating model, which emphasizes strong decision-making ability at individual stores, will contribute to future growth, he said.

The new shared resources office will increase Titan Machinery’s efficiency without altering its strong-store operating model, Meyer said.

Titan Machinery, founded in 1980, went public in December 2007. It shares are listed on NASDAQ under TITN.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Jonathan Knutson at (701) 241-5530

Jul 1, 2009, 9:06 PM
2008 Census Estimates

Fargo - 93,531 up from 90,599
West Fargo - 23,708 up from 14,940 a 58% increase:worship:
Moorhead - 36,012 up from 32,177
Dilworth - 3,677 up from 3,001
Horace - 1,757 up from 915
Harwood - 701 up from 607


I think for the most part those estimates are pretty close to the actual numbers but I still think the census is underestimating the city of Fargo itself. At least now they're saying it's growing. I personally believe by next year Fargo proper will have 100,000 people

Jul 2, 2009, 1:41 AM
2008 Census Estimates

Fargo - 93,531 up from 90,599
West Fargo - 23,708 up from 14,940 a 58% increase:worship:
Moorhead - 36,012 up from 32,177
Dilworth - 3,677 up from 3,001
Horace - 1,757 up from 915
Harwood - 701 up from 607


93,531 is too low. It's over 100,000 at the moment, according to three different consulting firms, according to a guy I talked to in the city's planning and development office.

But nevertheless, about 160,000 in the urban area according to the Census, over 170,000 according to other sources.

A little off-topic: Bismarck broke the 60,000 mark!!!

Jul 2, 2009, 1:51 AM
One more thing: Two more office buildings will be built along 45th Street in Urban Plains. Construction starts sometime this month hopefully.

Jul 2, 2009, 2:01 AM
93,531 is too low. It's over 100,000 at the moment, according to three different consulting firms, according to a guy I talked to in the city's planning and development office.

But nevertheless, about 160,000 in the urban area according to the Census, over 170,000 according to other sources.

A little off-topic: Bismarck broke the 60,000 mark!!!

don't shoot the messenger:haha: I've long said the estimates are low, and if you add in all the developments to the north and South (North River, Reilies Acres, Briarwood, Frontier, Prairie Rose, etc..)along the rivers its a totally different number

Jul 2, 2009, 2:15 AM
don't shoot the messenger:haha: I've long said the estimates are low, and if you add in all the developments to the north and South (North River, Reilies Acres, Briarwood, Frontier, Prairie Rose, etc..)along the rivers its a totally different number

Hell, I can name four Fargo neighbourhoods right off the top of my head that probably have thousands of people living in them that didn't exist in the year 2000. Osgood, Woodhaven, Anderson Park, Pointe West. Oh, also Amber Valley. Osgood is chock full to the brim with new subdivisions, and there must be several thousand people living there alone. Never mind the recent single-family housing boom in Anderson Park. There were no individiual houses in that block of land (Anderson Park) this winter. I counted almost 30 as I drove past there today. And with the Wal-Mart Supercenter opening up in Woodhaven on 52nd, there will be a housing explosion there.

So I think right now Fargo has over 100,000. By the 2010 census I would put my money on 105,000 if they do an honest count.

Jul 5, 2009, 1:44 AM

We're getting more active with our website and blog. We even have some video coming out tomorrow.

You'll see four buildings going UP this year if all goes as planned. Pediatric Therapy Partners will build their new building just south of Cheetah Mart on 45th, Starion Bank will build just north of Cheetah Mart, Taco Bell (insert Mexican food joke here), will build just north of Mexican Village, and we'll have our first residential units started as well.

We're working on a bunch of other things, including a market study on restaurants. We have group here today looking at what concepts will work.

Let me know what questions you guys have. And stay tuned, we've got some big things on the horizon.......

How about these for Eating Places:
Sonic drive in

Sam and Louies New York Pizzeria http://www.samandlouiesnyp.com/

Cici's Pizza Buffet http://www.cicispizza.com/

We used to have a Teriyaki Stix it would be great to have one again http://www.hogiyogi.com/teriyaki.php

Spaghetti Works http://www.spagworks.com/index.aspx

ESPNzone that would be sweet

Bojangles http://www.bojangles.com

White Castle

How about a Disc Golf course with a fastfood place attached?

another Burger King could definately use one on the south side of town

how about another Blimpie subs

I also think that we could use a open all night place also that opens at like 10pm - 5,6 am Like a hotdog or philly cheesesteak place after like 11pm there is nothing but perkins(no thanks), denny's, krolls(love it) open for the most part.

Jul 5, 2009, 4:29 AM
After going on vacation, I really see a Panera Bakery and Cafe would be a VERY good hit for the Fargo area. Souix Falls appears to have at least 2 of these, what a great place to eat at. Other items which we don't have that would be nice to see; Red Robin, Dave and Busters, P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory, Noodles and Company, Potbellys.

I think we have plenty of these buffet places and this town needs places other than mexican and applebees. Many people whom like to dine out have to be so sick of the same old generic food and would be pleased to have some of the afore mentioned places to frequent.

After visiting the twin cities, Eden Prarie Park has a fabulous area called Centenial Lakes Park, to see more information http://centenniallakespark.com site. This or something similar to it, would be a fabulous addition to the area of Fargo.

UP Fargo
Jul 7, 2009, 6:59 PM
After going on vacation, I really see a Panera Bakery and Cafe would be a VERY good hit for the Fargo area. Souix Falls appears to have at least 2 of these, what a great place to eat at. Other items which we don't have that would be nice to see; Red Robin, Dave and Busters, P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory, Noodles and Company, Potbellys.

I think we have plenty of these buffet places and this town needs places other than mexican and applebees. Many people whom like to dine out have to be so sick of the same old generic food and would be pleased to have some of the afore mentioned places to frequent.

After visiting the twin cities, Eden Prarie Park has a fabulous area called Centenial Lakes Park, to see more information http://centenniallakespark.com site. This or something similar to it, would be a fabulous addition to the area of Fargo.

It's on the way! Check out our park at Urban Plains. Grass is planted along the water now and you'll see the structures being built over the next couple of summers. The water is filtered and usable, there will be canoe and kayak rentals, and an amphitheatre for weddings, outdoor concerts, etc.

http://www.upfargo.com/park.html (http://www.upfargo.com/park.html)

check out the park fly through

Jul 8, 2009, 5:42 AM
After going on vacation, I really see a Panera Bakery and Cafe would be a VERY good hit for the Fargo area. Souix Falls appears to have at least 2 of these, what a great place to eat at. Other items which we don't have that would be nice to see; Red Robin, Dave and Busters, P.F. Changs, Cheesecake Factory, Noodles and Company, Potbellys.

I think we have plenty of these buffet places and this town needs places other than mexican and applebees. Many people whom like to dine out have to be so sick of the same old generic food and would be pleased to have some of the afore mentioned places to frequent.

After visiting the twin cities, Eden Prarie Park has a fabulous area called Centenial Lakes Park, to see more information http://centenniallakespark.com site. This or something similar to it, would be a fabulous addition to the area of Fargo.

Panera has claimed that Fargo is too far from their distribution in Minneapolis to guarantee it's "freshness". You can count that out.

Jul 8, 2009, 12:15 PM
Here's to building another distribution center.

Jul 8, 2009, 12:41 PM
If Minneapolis is the distribution center then the arguement about distance isn't valid as Sioux Falls is actually further away than Fargo, unless they use a different distribution center.

Is the park area of the Urban Plains going to continue south of 32nd? Have any plans been set forth for this development area?

Jul 12, 2009, 3:00 PM
It's on the way! Check out our park at Urban Plains. Grass is planted along the water now and you'll see the structures being built over the next couple of summers. The water is filtered and usable, there will be canoe and kayak rentals, and an amphitheatre for weddings, outdoor concerts, etc.

http://www.upfargo.com/park.html (http://www.upfargo.com/park.html)

Hey Up Center, do you have any plans for a disc golf course in your park?

Jul 12, 2009, 8:09 PM
Trollwood lifts curtain on new theater
By: J. Shane Mercer, INFORUM

A worker used a hollow bit to cut holes in a slab of rock where hand railing was to be installed at the Trollwood Performing Arts School’s new campus in south Moorhead.

Less than two weeks ago, little cylindrical, stone evidences of such work graced the new Trollwood amphitheater even as the set was being constructed for this year’s musical, “The Wiz,” which opens Wednesday.

Ongoing finishing touches notwithstanding, it’s clear that the new multi-million-dollar Trollwood Performing Arts School campus in Moorhead is a whole different venue from the old north Fargo site, where Trollwood made its home for three decades.

Michael Walling, stage director for “The Wiz,” called the new site “one of a kind in the region.”

“I think it’s something that this dual city should be very proud of,” said Walling, who is based in New York City and has been working with Trollwood for 19 years.

One of the most striking features of the new site is the set of four wooden arches spanning more than 170 feet across the amphitheater stage. Each arch is composed of two 50,000-pound halves, which are bolted together.

In addition to adding aesthetic value, the arches support a roof over the stage, a feature lacking at the old site. Jack Mehler, the scenery and lighting designer for “The Wiz,” said the roofing allows for more lighting options and more latitude in bringing people and objects into the scene from above.

Thanks to the roof, they haven’t had to stop any of the rehearsals this season due to weather.

“And that’s a first in the history of Trollwood,” Walling said.

“We can be in stormy weather, which we have been, and still be quite active on the stage and never have to stop because the stage is covered. Plus we have beautiful indoor space to rehearse in as well. So all of this is quite unique, and we feel quite fortunate.”

Impressive though they are, there’s certainly much more to the new amphitheater than arches.

“I think you can see there is not a bad seat in the house,” said TPAS Executive Director Vicki Chepulis.

The seating wraps around the curved stage front of Imagine Theatre, with seats aimed toward the center of the stage. Its Greek- and Roman-influenced design manages to come off as both grand and intimate.

The old, sometimes-wobbly plastic yard chairs from the old Trollwood site have been replaced by permanent, outdoor theater-style seats. There are also stone benches with additional grass seating areas on either side of the permanent seating.

Lighting poles used to obstruct views at the Fargo site. But poles at the new site are located behind the seating area.

That means “there’s no obstructed view whatsoever,” Chepulis said.

The Trollwood stage itself also got an upgrade. It now boasts about 25 percent more space than the stage at the old site.

Mehler, a freelance lighting and scenery designer based in New York state who has worked with Trollwood for years, said the new facility has more of a sense of permanence about it and feels more like a real performance venue than the old site did.

“It’s more of a place,” said Mehler, who served as a consultant during the development of the new site.

The new campus is also home to Marcil Commons, which serves a number of functions, including housing TPAS staff and providing an indoor practice space.

Despite moving to the new home, Trollwood still has a presence at the old site in Fargo. The school uses both campuses to house its programs. And while the new home is in Moorhead, TPAS remains part of Fargo’s public school system.

Of course, it’s always hard to leave home. John Ford-Dunker had a role in last year’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and is the Scarecrow in this year’s production, which is a re-imagination of “The Wizard of Oz.” He loves the new site, but he also misses the old Fargo campus, saying there was something magical about it.

Even so, when talking about the new site, he said there’s “definitely a magic about this place, too.”

Ford-Dunker said he’s honored to have the opportunity to be part of the first and last shows at the new and old sites, respectively.

Ginny Glaser, who is a veteran of several TPAS productions and plays Dorothy in “The Wiz,” said she’s also honored to have that opportunity. And she said it’s really the people that make Trollwood “amazing.”

“It will always be a home to me,” she said.

If you go

* What: “The Wiz”

* When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday, July 22-26 and July 29 through Aug. 2

* Where: Trollwood Performing Arts School’s Imagine Theatre at 50th Avenue South and the Red River in Moorhead.

* Tickets: Reserved tickets are $17-$25; general admission is $8-$13. Call (218) 477-6502 for more information.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734


Jul 13, 2009, 1:53 AM

Check out their new website. It's pretty cool.

UP Fargo
Jul 13, 2009, 3:30 PM
Hey Up Center, do you have any plans for a disc golf course in your park?

Plans aren't finalized yet, currently there are not plans for disc golf. I will keep it in mind as plans develop.

UP Fargo
Jul 13, 2009, 3:35 PM

We have a couple great students at MSUM doing video for us at UP. Check out their first project.

They are doing a combination of video about green development and the practices we use, companies that are out here, and other crazy stuff we come up with.

Jul 14, 2009, 10:00 PM
F-M's third Wal-Mart is still being worked on. Anyone know why they're taking their sweet time on that project??

Jul 15, 2009, 1:06 AM
I understood to build the store it had to meet specific asthetic criteria. I am certain the flood also had an affect as many trucks were hauling dirt in/out of that area.

It appears they are getting close too paving the parking lot area and exterior is mostly done, some stucco work to finish.

I have not seen anyone post it yet, but the DQ on 40th and 45th in the Osgood is open.

Anyone have any information if any businesses are going to be going in or around the 52nd Ave. Wal-Mart at this time?

Jul 15, 2009, 10:19 PM
I saw the pool tables outside of the place today Mike... really torturing me now!

Jul 16, 2009, 2:06 PM
NDSU's presence downtown spurs developers' interest
By: Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

North Dakota State University’s expansion into downtown Fargo is spurring new interest from private developers.

One area of interest is Taco Bell at 1001 1st Ave. N., which franchise owner John Serati said has received multiple inquiries from developers.

The lease on that Taco Bell franchise expires next spring, so Serati and his partner, David Dunafon, are considering their options.

Owners of parcels adjacent to Taco Bell, a parking lot north of the restaurant and Pierce Co., also have talked to developers, Serati said.

Developers are interested in different ideas, including turning the site into a mixed-use project with retail on the ground floor and apartments above, Serati said.

Discussions are preliminary at this point, he said.

“We’ve got more people talking than we have acting,” Serati said.

The interest comes as NDSU’s presence downtown will grow this fall with the opening of Richard H. Barry Hall and the Cityscapes Development project that will provide student housing.

The university estimates an average of 4,000 NDSU students will visit downtown daily.

The 104 apartment units in the Cityscapes project at 630 1st Ave. N. need to be finished by Aug. 15 so students can begin moving.

Paul Johnson, Cityscapes senior commercial Realtor, said the construction is on schedule, but “we’ll have to make a big push to meet that deadline.”

The apartments, which are a combination of efficiencies, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, are on floors two through five.

The main floor of the complex is reserved for retail. There will be 75 underground parking spots.

The only tenants so far are NDSU – a campus police substation that will occupy 2,000 square feet and a bookstore that will be about 5,000 square feet, Johnson said.

The police office will be completed in mid-August, and the bookstore will open later in the semester.

Developers are in talks with a variety of retailers, Johnson said.

They include: an urban grocery store, which could occupy as much as 10,000 to 20,000 square feet, a fitness center, a coffee shop, nail salon, two fast-food restaurants and a sit-down restaurant.

The focus now is to complete the residential units, but once students arrive, the retailers will follow, Johnson said.

“All of a sudden, I think you’ll see a lot of those spaces filling up,” he said.

A maximum of 220 students can live in the units, which will be managed by NDSU.

It’s for students who are 20 and older, said Bill Frazier, associate director of residence life facilities.

They’ll be able to start moving in Aug. 17, a week before classes begin.

Frazier expects the building to be popular with students.

“They’re going to enjoy not only the location, but also the convenience factor,” Frazier said. “For those who are going to be taking the classes in the downtown area, the location is going to be ideal.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590


Jul 17, 2009, 8:39 PM
According to Money Magazine, west fargo is one of the best places to live. Coming in at 81 it was the only city in the dakota's to be chosen.


Jul 19, 2009, 2:19 AM
Interesting that downtown Fargo will be the headquarters of Sanford-Meritcare. I wonder if that means they'll build something or what, this merger could be interesting.

NDSU is already starting to be a driving force in downtown and if Merticare becomes move involved things could get really interesting.

Jul 20, 2009, 8:28 PM
maybe a sanford-meritcare miniscraper?

Jul 20, 2009, 11:19 PM
oh by the way i hear corwin is trying to get a lexus dealership in town

Jul 21, 2009, 1:44 AM
oh by the way i hear corwin is trying to get a lexus dealership in town

Id rather have a PF Changs:jester:

Jul 21, 2009, 3:14 AM
Fargo would land headquarters in MeritCare-Sanford merger
By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

The top executive of the proposed Sanford-MeritCare Health System dangled some dazzling possibilities Friday as he described the benefits of a merger between two large networks.

Downtown Fargo would host the corporate headquarters for Sanford-MeritCare, which the organizations hope can be approved this fall, with the merger taking effect Jan. 1, 2010.

Kelby Krabbenhoft, chief executive of Sanford, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., said MeritCare will benefit from a $400 million gift by philanthropist Dennis Sanford, a “dowry” his organization would bring to the corporate marriage.

MeritCare’s research programs would get a significant boost from Sanford’s research initiatives, he said, led by its commitment to seek a cure for childhood diabetes.

“That’s part of the dowry or inheritance that comes forward to MeritCare,” he said.

In fact, Krabbenhoft added, he had phone messages from a couple of biotechnology firms Friday morning inquiring about the implications of a Sanford-MeritCare merger after news broke Thursday that the boards of both health systems had signed a letter of intent to merge.

Dr. Roger Gilbertson, MeritCare’s chief executive, said enhanced medical research along the Interstate 29 corridor might enable partnerships with vaccine and medical device manufacturers.

“It creates spinoff implications that are really huge,” Krabbenhoft added.

Other possibilities in Fargo someday could include a new freestanding children’s hospital – Sanford recently opened a children’s hospital in Sioux Falls – as well as a renovated and expanded cancer center.

Similarly, Krabbenhoft embraced MeritCare’s long-term plans for a significant health center on a 109-acre parcel of land MeritCare owns at Agassiz Crossing, directly south of Interstate 94 between 45th and 57th streets south.

Later, he also spoke of the possibility of expanding and renovating the MeritCare clinic in Moorhead.

Gilbertson, Krabbenhoft and others spoke in a news conference that lasted more than an hour, laying out their vision for a merger that would serve a population base of 2 million people in five states, a service area of up to 100,000 square miles.

The two CEOs repeatedly sought to reassure MeritCare employees and the general public that consolidation would not translate into net layoffs or a decline in health services.

Ultimately, more jobs and enhanced medical services would come to both Fargo and Sioux Falls, they said.

In many ways, Krabbenhoft said, the two organizations have a similar culture, including their early ties to Lutheran health care.

“We both share a huge reputation for quality and excellence,” he said, with “an overwhelming commonality” in culture and values that should help mesh the two.

At several points, Krabbenhoft complimented MeritCare on its leadership in providing excellent care for the region, and Gilbertson, who plans to retire at the end of the year, for his leading role in integrating doctors and hospitals in one organization.

“We’ve always looked at MeritCare as a leader,” Krabbenhoft said.

Despite the assurances, a member of the newly formed group that sought to slow down the merger, Citizens for MeritCare, said promises are one thing, although the reality of a merged organization sometimes don’t match the early descriptions.

“I’m just hoping it can happen the way they say it is,” said Tom Dawson, a Fargo insurance executive and former chairman of the MeritCare board.

Dawson said Citizens for MeritCare, which publicly raised questions about the merger last week, was not trying to derail the union.

Although a deliberative pace would be nice, “You also have to take opportunities by the horn,” Dawson said of the merger, which has been under discussion for four months and was made public June 17.

“These are good people involved,” Dawson said, yet he said it would be unfortunate that MeritCare would lose the CEO position. Presidents in Fargo and Sioux Falls would report to Krabbenhoft.

Among the merger details outlined Friday in a news conference:

# Each health system would contribute seven members to the board. The joint CEO – Krabbenhoft – would be the 15th member. Any initiative must pass by more than one vote, so the CEO would not cast a tie-breaking vote, a step meant to ease any worries from MeritCare constituencies that it would be outgunned in the boardroom.

# The merged organization would have cash reserves of $700 million, easier access to capital, and would be able to borrow at lower rates.

“That’s a huge statement of financial stability and strength,” Krabbenhoft said. “We’ve built these organizations over a century.”

# Joining forces will enable a higher degree of medical sophistication at both the Fargo and Sioux Falls centers, enabling new services that perhaps could include transplantations, Krabbenhoft said.

“Now we can start talking about those kind of things,” he said.

# The efficiencies and expanded network from a merger will better position the two for health reform, which will reward health providers that provide a full continuum of care in a cost-effective manner.

A public dialogue about the proposed merger will take place in the weeks ahead, Gilbertson said. One of the first sounding boards, he said, will be a large ecumenical faith group that advises MeritCare.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522

Jul 21, 2009, 8:10 PM
Do they plan on building a tall building in downtown Fargo??

Jul 22, 2009, 3:13 PM
not to change subjects, but does anyone think that fargo will have a nice building to add to there skyline in the next 5-10 years? Fargo had an offer to have the cityscapes plaza but the town is to full of democrats to get anything done.

Jul 22, 2009, 8:56 PM
I doubt the hospital merger will result in a new office building in downtown Fargo. Most likely it would be part of the actual hospital and not a separate building off on its own. But that's just what im assuming.

Jul 23, 2009, 12:19 AM
not to change subjects, but does anyone think that fargo will have a nice building to add to there skyline in the next 5-10 years? Fargo had an offer to have the cityscapes plaza but the town is to full of democrats to get anything done.

no, too much prime land closer to the interstates and other traffic to the southwest it wouldn't justify building a 22+ floor building downtown IMO

Jul 23, 2009, 3:16 AM
no, too much prime land closer to the interstates and other traffic to the southwest it wouldn't justify building a 22+ floor building downtown IMO

Meritcare's main campus is in downtown, and there was a newspaper article that said their office would be located in downtown. Like I said I have no idea what that means but there doesn't seem to be a lot of room for them to expand in their current location so it will be interesting to see what they do.

They have also said they will build two new hospitals in Fargo. I sounded like Merticare had a location picked out before the merger happened.

Jul 23, 2009, 6:17 AM
Hospitals do not usually create large HQ away from their campuses. I know for a fact that Sanford doesn't have anything special for theirs right now in Sioux Falls.

Jul 23, 2009, 12:54 PM
Well neither does meritcare but maybe a combined larger hospital would. I mean the whole thing will cater to two million people in five different states.

Jul 23, 2009, 2:17 PM
it would be really cool for fargo to have a huge beautiful hospital, even if its just off the interstate it doesn't have to be downtown. If a big beautiful hospital was built i think it would showcase fargo and also people would come from all over to use the place and bring in "tourism" if you will, because of the people using the facility.

Jul 27, 2009, 1:16 PM
Fargo-Moorhead apartment vacancy down, home sales up
By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

The Fargo-Moorhead area’s housing market is on the rebound, but it doesn’t appear to be coming at the expense of apartments.

A June survey found the apartment vacancy rate in the four-city metro area was the lowest for the month in four years.

The Associated Press reported last week that, based on an analysis of 45 metro areas, the gap between the monthly mortgage payment on a median-priced home and the median rent has shrunk from $777 a month to $221 in the past three years.

The Fargo-Moorhead Area Association of Realtors doesn’t keep tabs on the local gap between rent and mortgage costs, but a rebound in sales suggests more first-time homebuyers are interested in purchasing now, officials said.

Contracts for sales of pre-owned homes in the metro area jumped from 230 in June 2008 to 283 last month, an increase of about 23 percent, according to the association. May sales were up about 22 percent over the previous year.

The increase suggests the market is rebounding after contracts dropped 26 percent in May 2008 and 12 percent in June 2008 compared with 2007 figures, said Judy Gehrke, executive vice president of the Realtors association.

First-time homebuyers are driving about 60 percent of current home sales, which the association believes is directly related to the first-time homebuyer tax credit of up to $8,000 provided by the federal stimulus package, association President Scott Breidenbach said.

“We really feel that obviously is working,” he said. “The buzz is out there, People are talking.”

Breidenbach said many renters coming up on the end of their leases are giving serious thought to buying a home instead of renewing the lease.

He attributes it to several factors, including the tax credit, low mortgage interest rates, local builders who cater to first-time buyers and the metro’s strong housing market, which was featured in USA Today last week.

“It’s pretty obvious to us that the stimulus package is working and people are choosing to buy over rent, although the rental market in Fargo-Moorhead is just as strong as it has ever been,” he said.

The apartment vacancy rate in June was 5.9 percent, down from 6.3 percent in June 2008, 7.8 percent in June 2007 and 9.3 percent in June 2006, according to a quarterly vacancy report by Appraisal Services Inc. The survey covered about two-thirds of the rental units in the metro area.

The metro area was overbuilt with apartments a few years ago, but construction has slowed and supply and demand has balanced out over the last year, said Neal Eriksmoen of Appraisal Services.

“If your assumption is that people are moving out of apartments into housing, you would expect the vacancy rate to go up,” he said.

Some of the increased demand for apartments may stem from foreclosure activity among single family homes, Eriksmoen said.

Breidenbach said he expects the strong interest from first-time buyers to continue at least for a couple more months.

“There’s going to be some urgency coming up because those properties that they choose to build or buy have to close by Nov. 30 to take advantage of that (tax credit) program,” he said.

Breidenbach said he advises clients not to buy a home just because of the tax credit. Personal finances and life circumstances also have to be in the right place, he said.

Also, the tax credit – which buyers can obtain by either amending their 2008 federal income tax return or when filing their 2009 return – isn’t going to help buyers make a down payment or lower their monthly mortgage payment, which is structured at closing, he said.

“You still have to have the money up front to buy a home,” he said.

The income limit for claiming the tax credit is $75,000 for single filers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528


Jul 27, 2009, 1:19 PM
Here's the USA Today article


Aug 6, 2009, 7:56 PM
Metro cities raise ante to spur new homes
By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

With statistics for new-home construction souring, metro-area leaders are looking at sweetening the deal for builders and buyers to put down stakes in their cities.

A change in North Dakota law has officials in Fargo and West Fargo recommending bigger tax breaks for new-home buyers, while a new Minnesota law means a two-year tax abatement for their Moorhead counterparts.

The competition between cities to attract new homes – and with them, new residents, students and property tax revenue – reared its head during Tuesday’s meeting of the West Fargo Economic Development Advisory Committee.

Members recommended the City Commission pass a resolution to take advantage of a state law that now allows cities to offer new-home buyers a two-year tax exemption on $150,000 of the home’s value, up from $75,000 previously.

They recommended the change apply to homes where construction started on or after Jan. 1 – going a step further than Fargo’s Tax Exempt Review Committee, which last week recommended the change be retroactive to Aug. 1.

“I don’t care what Fargo did,” said committee member Jeffry Volk of Moore Engineering. “I think we need to be as advantageous as we can in West Fargo.”

The F-M Home Builders Association supports the larger incentive, Executive Vice President Bryce Johnson said. The change could save buyers $3,000 a year for two full years.

Johnson said that while having consistent incentives across the metro area creates less confusion for buyers, she understands cities have to do what is best for their communities.

“Because they’re not just competing locally with each other, but they’re competing with other cities around the country as they are fighting to attract corporations and those employees to come into this community,” she said.

And the cities have less to compete for these days.

Total housing starts in the metro area plummeted from 367 units during the first six months of 2008 to 251 units during the same period this year, according to the HBA.

The totals fell from 184 to 124 in Fargo, from 109 to 63 in Moorhead, from 65 to 57 in West Fargo and from 11 to seven in Dilworth.

Building permits issued for single-family dwellings through July 31 were down 28 percent in Moorhead and 11 percent in Fargo, and up 34 percent in West Fargo, when compared with the same period last year, according to figures provided by each city.

Officials hope the bigger incentives will boost homebuilding and buying.

Fargo’s tax committee last week recommended builders be eligible for a $150,000 exemption for the year in which the home is built and a full year thereafter. The exemption would be limited to five homes per builder.

West Fargo committee members Tuesday discussed the same incentive, made possible by a new state law, but decided to wait and see how the Fargo City Commission acts on it in September.

Before their unanimous vote on the new-home buyer exemption, one West Fargo committee member raised concerns about how lost tax revenue from the exemption may affect city services. Another questioned why it should be retroactive to Jan. 1, which would apply the tax break to 67 single-family homes.

“Aren’t we trying to incent people to come build and construct and move into homes?” said member Todd Zabel of State Bank & Trust. “So why would we give a benefit back … when they already agreed to do it under the policy at the time?”

West Fargo City Assessor Wanda Wilcox said it would be simpler to administer the larger incentive at the start of the tax year.

“It would be hard to explain to somebody who bought a house and thought they got the $150,000 (exemption), ‘Well, your house started on July 28, you still get the $75,000,’” she said.

Moorhead adopted a new state-funded program this spring that provides a $200,000-per-home tax abatement to builders or homeowners for homes built this year and next year in cities along the Red River to help avoid a flood-related housing slump.

“They certainly know about it and are using it,” said Dawn Fuxa, Moorhead building codes office specialist.

AG says cities can limit tax break for builders

North Dakota cities that decide to offer a property tax exemption to builders of single-family homes can limit the dollar value of the exemption, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem wrote in an opinion issued this week.

Mapleton City Attorney John T. Shockley requested the opinion on the exemption, indicating it “has created some uncertainty” among cities and counties since it was created with the approval of Senate Bill 2239 this past spring, according to the opinion.

The bill states that the new home “is exempt from assessment for the taxable year in which construction began and the next two taxable years” if the builder still owns it.

However, it goes on to state that the governing body “may limit or impose conditions” upon the exemption, including limiting the tax break’s length.

Stenehjem opined that the governing body may also limit the dollar value.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

Aug 7, 2009, 2:19 PM

Airline passenger traffic in July at Hector International Airport showed an increase as compared to the same month in 2008. In July 2009, the passenger enplanements were 36,072. This is an increase of 11.4% when compared to the July 2008 passenger enplanements of 32,385.

Total passenger count for the month was 71,371, which is up 11.3% over the same period last year. The previous record was set in July 2008.

Hector International Airport had the highest number of enplaned, deplaned and total passengers in its history.


Aug 7, 2009, 2:21 PM
Ramp closing may be opportunity
Development proposal for the site in downtown Fargo could be announced as soon as next week
A downtown business spokesman said Thursday that the closing of Fargo’s U.S. Bank ramp may spur a development proposal for the site that has been in the works on and off since 2002.
By: Helmut Schmidt, INFORUM

A downtown business spokesman said Thursday that the closing of Fargo’s U.S. Bank ramp may spur a development proposal for the site that has been in the works on and off since 2002.

“The timing of it was just about perfect,” said Dave Anderson, president of the Downtown Community Partnership. “There is some movement … on what is coming together there.”

Anderson said city and business officials have “known for years that that ramp’s days were numbered. Several of us have been moving toward a development solution.”

Anderson said an announcement of “a proposal that I think is going to be very helpful” could be made as soon as next week, but he said he could not comment further.

City Commissioner Mike Williams said the block is underdeveloped.

He also said that talks have “been under way for quite a long time. There have been some interested developers.”

The ramp was abruptly closed Wednesday after a structural engineer warned that it was unsafe and that some parts could collapse.

On Thursday, a temporary move for the 150 parking-space renters to the Civic Center lot (about two blocks east), was going well, city Senior Planner Bob Stein said.

“There’s a good connection through the skyway. That’s not the permanent solution for everybody, but it was the quick, easy fix,” Stein said.

In the meantime, long-term fixes, such as using underground spaces in the Ground Transportation Center, or perhaps creating a circulator bus route to take advantage of space in the Island Park ramp, are being reviewed, Stein said.

The decision to close the ramp came after an e-mail was sent at 2:49 p.m. Wednesday from Jim Heyer, a Fargo structural engineer, to Stein.

“The corrosion [of the ramp] has progressed in several areas to the point of seriousness,” Heyer wrote. “In addition, we noticed vertical stress cracks on several beams. Several columns also have additional and more severe corrosion of rebar and de-lamination. We also noted potential shear cracks on the column haunches along the north exterior face.

“In addition, the center core ramp has deteriorated to what I feel is a dangerous level. I am also concerned with this core structure and its connection to the rest of the ramp. These connections are in an extremely serious condition. There is a potential that if the core collapsed, it could bring some of the ramp with,” Heyer wrote.

Stein said a concrete expert will take a look at the ramp Monday.

That same expert, Tom Downs, president of BKBM Engineers of Minneapolis, recommended annual inspections of the ramp eight years ago. Stein said he doesn’t expect the solution this time to be as easy, or cheap.

The last time the city sought bids for demolishing or rehabilitating the ramp, bids for both alternatives were well over a million dollars, he said.

The ramp was built in 1963 and purchased by the city in 1984.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583


Aug 7, 2009, 6:20 PM
Trade Talk: Gas station, car wash opens on Sheyenne in West Fargo
By: Craig McEwen and Tracy Frank, INFORUM

A new gas station, convenience store and car wash has opened in West Fargo.

Eagle Run Crossing, a Tesoro station, is at 3210 Sheyenne St. It carries regular, unleaded, premium and diesel fuel, and offers a car wash.

“There isn’t one around with a car wash in it,” said Betty Hoffart, who owns Eagle Run Crossing with Albert Hoffart and Don and Cecelia Brown. “It was needed very much.”

Hoffart said people were stopping by before it opened.

“Everybody’s excited,” she said.

The car wash is touchless. The convenience store has a variety of groceries and a deli that offers broasted chicken, a news release stated.

The facility also has lottery tickets and a filtered water tank.

The station opened Friday. Hours are 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week. The gas pumps will be open 24 hours with credit card purchases at the pumps.

Second Capital Square building rising

Construction has begun on the second of five buildings that will be part of Capital Square, a $17 million commercial condominium project in Fargo.

Lexstar Development is building the eight-acre complex between 43rd Street South and 15th and 17 avenues.

Construction on one building as been completed and is about 80 percent leased, said Lisa Rudnick, Lexstar communications director.

The building under construction is expected to open in October and is about half leased, Rudnick said.

DQ Grill & Chill now open in Osgood

A new Dairy Queen Grill & Chill has opened in Fargo’s Osgood development.

The restaurant at 4015 45th St. S. opened July 8, said Alisha MacDonald, associate manager of the restaurant.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Sunday.

Charles Anderson of Fargo owns the restaurant.

DQ Grill & Chill restaurants offer a full line of DQ treats and a food menu.

Holiday Inn returns to Detroit Lakes

The former Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, Minn., is becoming a Holiday Inn again.

Since June 2008, the 103-room hotel built in 1975 for $1.1 million has operated as the ClubHouse Hotel, said general manager Lois Greenig.

“We are going through a total renovation,” said Greenig, who hopes for completion in the next couple of months.

The hotel with a swimming pool, restaurant and bar remains open and is being referred to as the “Future Holiday Inn on the Lake,” she said.

The hotel is on Big Detroit Lake at 1155 Highway 10 E.

For more information, call (218) 847-2121.


Readers can reach Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502 and business reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

Aug 10, 2009, 2:56 AM
Merger includes big plans for Fargo
By: Patrick Springer, INFORUM

Agassiz Crossing has been a fallow field waiting for the day when MeritCare would expand its medical services to Fargo’s western edge.

That day could arrive within the next five years – with a new facility ranging from $250 million to $350 million – if plans by executives involved in a Sanford-MeritCare merger slated for later this year materialize.

“Within 60 months I would like to see us breaking ground, certainly announcing a plan within a year,” Kelby Krabbenhoft, Sanford’s chief executive, told The Forum.

MeritCare’s emergency room and Roger Maris Cancer Center, for example, need more space but have no room for expansion at its downtown medical campus.

Krabbenhoft has also spoken of a possible freestanding children’s hospital in Fargo. Sanford, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., recently opened a new $65 million children’s hospital at its main medical center.

Years ago, MeritCare acquired a parcel of land, Agassiz Crossing, immediately south of Interstate 94 between 45th Street in Fargo and Ninth Street in West Fargo, to have in reserve for future development.

Even before the possibility of a merger with Sanford emerged this spring, MeritCare launched a comprehensive review of its future facilities and space needs.

One of the findings: Much of the downtown MeritCare Medical Center, part of which dates back to the early 1900s, would need to be rebuilt, not remodeled, by 2030 to 2035, said Dr. Roger Gilbertson, MeritCare’s chief executive.

The life expectancy of the downtown campus, according to architects and engineers, means significant upgrades would be needed in 20 or 25 years, he said.

“They told us you have to tear it down or replace it, or transition to a new location,” Gilbertson added. “That’s what we’re looking at.”

Because of the significant investment in the downtown medical center, however, and its strategic location near downtown Fargo and the heart of the metro area, the campus will continue to provide services, Krabbenhoft said.

Still, anticipating the need for more space, MeritCare bought Agassiz Crossing, with 109 acres available for future expansion at the location south of Interstate 94.

The health system has been planning how to best serve the needs of a population in its service area that is both growing and aging, creating higher demand for services, and the facilities to meet them.

“There’s been an extensive amount of work on what that might look like,” Gilbertson said of the two-year planning process that recently concluded.

Now, with the greater financial clout that would result from a merger, plans for capital improvements and expansions can progress “with some reality instead of merely a dream,” he said.

Given the volume of patients it sees, MeritCare’s emergency room should be much larger, Gilbertson said.

“We have about a third of the size we need for the number of people we see,” he said. “That’s why that is kind of the high priority for us.”

Executives for both health systems expect to complete their “due diligence” review of financial and legal issues by Oct. 1, hoping the two can merge before the end of the year.

During ongoing discussions, Krabbenhoft, Gilbertson and their executive teams have discussed how they can expand services in both Fargo and Sioux Falls.

Becky Nelson, Sanford’s chief of operations, noted that the health system has grown significantly in the 13 years since Krabbenhoft took the helm.

She listed major expansions, including expanded emergency, cancer and orthopedic centers, as well as a surgery tower and women’s health center. Since Dennis Sanford donated $400 million two years ago, it built a $65 million children’s hospital and launched an aggressive research program with the aim of finding a cure for childhood diabetes.

“I think you’ll see that replicated here in Fargo,” Nelson said.

In Sioux Falls, a combined Sanford-MeritCare would make it easier to build a new $90 million heart hospital, Krabbenhoft said, adding that the health system must also meet growing medical needs there as well.

Given declining revenue margins, Krabbenhoft said, health care providers that aren’t financially strong risk falling behind, with outdated buildings and equipment.

Sanford-MeritCare’s combined strength would make it possible to offer new areas of highly specialized care, such as head and neck surgery or maternal-fetal surgery, Krabbenhoft said.

The goal would be to add new specialty services in Fargo and Sioux Falls, he said, adding that a new program would likely have locations in both cities.

The goal, both top executives said, is to create a combined health system that will be recognized as a regional center of excellence for a service territory covering 100,000 square miles in five states.

“It’s not going to be easy,” Krabbenhoft said. “It’ll be a bit of a trick.”

Asked whether it would be more difficult for MeritCare patients to obtain referrals to see specialists outside the health system’s network, Gilbertson responded:

“Nobody forces patients anywhere they don’t want to go. Our job will be to create a place of such sophistication and brand that people will seek it. I think we have that now in some cases. This is not going to result in some forced process.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Patrick Springer at (701) 241-5522


Aug 10, 2009, 8:53 AM
Spent a day in Fargo on the way home from a trip and stopped to look at the development of SW Fargo, couldn't believe the number of new homes (but it is sprawl). What is the new big box store going in near I-29 in the south? Is Costco coming to the area soon as well?

PS tried the new Mexican Village and wasn't all that impressed, food was pretty bland and flavorless, ordered Soppapilas for dessert but they should have been called soap-apilas as they were about as hard a bar of soap, worst I ever had!

Aug 10, 2009, 1:46 PM
Yeah I wouldn't recommend Mexican Village to anyone who enjoys mexican food, or food rather. The big-box down on 52nd is Super Wal-Mart, FM's third one :yuck:

I also heard that a new sushi place is opening behind the Drunken Noodle downtown. You can access it from the alley or through drunken noodle. The man who owns the building was my source so hopefully he would know

Aug 10, 2009, 7:59 PM
Maybe next time rrskylar...

Trade Talk: Mexican food fans have new option
By: Craig McEwen and Tracy Frank, INFORUM

The Casa Ramos Mexican Restaurant has opened at 1649 38th St. S. in Fargo, in the former Hooters site.

The restaurant, which seats 240 and employs about 18, serves authentic Mexican food and drinks, said owner Ben Ramos.

This is the second restaurant Ramos, originally from near Guadalajara, Mexico, has opened in the U.S. He has another one in Arizona about three hours north of Phoenix.

Ramos said he was headed to Winnipeg and passed through Fargo and became interested in the community.

“We talked to our real estate guy and he said this place was available,” Ramos said. “I think it’s a prêtty good location.”

The Fargo restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

To contact the restaurant, call (701) 281-1033.


Aug 12, 2009, 4:28 PM
Panchero's is adding another location in the area in Fargo now at 4761 13 Ave South.

Aug 13, 2009, 7:48 PM
U.S. Bank, Burgum reach deal on plaza
By: Craig McEwen, INFORUM

More retail, commercial and housing development may be coming to downtown Fargo.

Developer Doug Burgum has secured an option to purchase the U.S. Bank parking lot and plaza over the next three years.

The 48,000-square-foot tract is on the east side of Broadway between Second and Third avenues.

“We are excited to have reached this agreement with U.S. Bank,” said Burgum, chairman and founder of Kilbourne Group.

“This is a really significant block for downtown Fargo,” Burgum said. “It touches so many other locations, and it has an opportunity, if designed right, to fulfill so many different needs.”

U.S. Bank, as part of the option, is limiting Kilbourne Group’s ability to market the space to financial services clients because it doesn’t want competition on the same block, Burgum said.

That limits Kilbourne to residential, retail and non-financial commercial development options, he said.

U.S. Bank will continue to operate at its current location.

The city of Fargo is considering replacing its recently condemned parking ramp adjacent to the bank with a new one, said City Administrator Pat Zavoral.

Kilbourne Group will begin design and economic feasibility studies to determine what kind of tenants a future project may attract, Burgum said.

Moving forward with the project will depend greatly on the interest of potential tenants, he said.

The projected development would qualify for city of Fargo Renaissance Zone incentives.

“It is going to take us some time to see if we can put together an economically viable project,” Burgum said.

“We want to be assertive with our timetable, but we also want to be thoughtful because we know whatever we do is going to have a long, long impact,” he said.

Downtown residents have expressed a need for basic neighborhood services like a grocery store and combination bar/coffee shop/laundry complex popular in other urban centers, he said.

“It would be great if we could land a commercial business with a good employee count downtown,” Burgum said.

The project also will include housing and preserved green space, he said.

The deal is structured as an 18-month option with an 18-month extension, he said.

“There’s an incentive for us to get something figured out in the first 18 months,” he said.

Kilbourne Group negotiated hard to have a little more time, he said, because of current global and national economic concerns.

“It’s a tough development environment,” he said. “The good thing is construction costs are a little bit lower if a person could get started sooner than later.”

Kilbourne Group wants to be part of the planning process for developing a new parking ramp, Burgum said.

Fargo City Planner Jim Gilmour said the city is reviewing long-term parking needs downtown.

“I think the city is going to be willing to be a partner on a new ramp in that area,” he said.

Building a new ramp will require some combination of parking revenue bonds, tax increment financing and special assessments, Gilmour said.

The city owns the existing ramp and the property beneath it.

“We would love to be an active participant with the city and try to collaborate on a smart design for that location,” Burgum said.

“This really is the only location where you could build a high-capacity parking ramp in central downtown Fargo and have it hook up to the skyway,” he said.

Burgum and the Kilbourne Group have been involved in several downtown Fargo renovation and development projects over the past decade.

In 2000, Burgum purchased the former Northern School Supply building and donated it to North Dakota State University which renamed it Renaissance Hall.

Other projects include construction of 300 Broadway, a $5.4 million retail and condo project; Lofts on Broadway, a housing complex at 309 Roberts Street; renovating retail space at 102 Broadway, now home to Vlana Vlee boutique and department store; and purchasing the former Richtman’s Press Club building at 301 NP Ave., and former Thibedeau & Co. Accounting at 307 NP Ave.


Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502

Aug 13, 2009, 8:04 PM
Super excited about the development of the US Bank Plaza. It has been long overdue.

Aug 17, 2009, 6:24 PM
SERIES: NDSU aims to stay unified as it grows
By: Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

North Dakota State University is expanding this fall, but officials and students want to keep the campus unified despite the growth downtown.

“We’re working hard not to create two campuses,” said President Joseph Chapman.

More than 2,500 NDSU students will attend classes downtown this fall with the opening of Richard H. Barry Hall.

As many as 4,000 students are expected to have classes in the three downtown buildings in the future. Renaissance Hall opened in 2004 and Klai Hall opened earlier this year.

Some NDSU students, namely those in the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics, initially opposed moving downtown. But since the buildings have opened and the university addressed their concerns, they’ve come on board.

Justin Sherlock, a student senator who represents the College of Agriculture, said most student concerns have been addressed.

“I was definitely against it before,” Sherlock said. “But now, as things have progressed and the building is coming along, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

Some general education classes will be held downtown, so all students may have the opportunity to take classes downtown.

As students move away from what’s been considered the main part of campus, Chapman wants to maintain the feeling that it’s still one university.

He sought advice from presidents of other metropolitan universities that have experienced similar expansions.

“Students have to feel fully engaged regardless of where they’re taking a majority of their classwork,” Chapman said. “We believe we’ve provided the services to ensure that.”

Location, location

NDSU’s first downtown building, Renaissance Hall, is the former Northern School Supply and houses art and architecture departments.

In 2006, the NDSU Development Foundation announced plans to acquire and renovate two more downtown buildings.

Klai Hall, the former Lincoln Mutual Life building, first offered classes in January for architecture students.

Faculty and staff are now moving into Richard H. Barry Hall, the former Pioneer Mutual Life building. Classes are set to begin on Aug. 24.

It will house the College of Business and the Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics.

This fall will be the first time NDSU has offered student housing downtown, with the addition of student apartments in the Cityscapes Plaza. Students can begin moving in Monday.

The main level of the Cityscapes development will house a campus police substation and a bookstore, and retail space.

NDSU is not looking for any more downtown buildings, but officials would consider a further expansion if the right opportunity came along, Chapman said.

There also are no plans to occupy additional space in the Cityscapes complex, he said.

“Right now we want to get this transition made because it’s a big move,” he said.

Chapman is quick to point out that the downtown buildings are no farther away than some buildings on the main campus.

The distance from the NDSU Research and Technology Park to Memorial Union is about 1 1/4 miles, about the same distance as Memorial Union to Richard H. Barry Hall.

‘Premier’ facilities

Chapman toured Barry Hall last week, seeing it substantially completed for the first time.

“It’s really something,” said Chapman as he stood on the second floor looking out at the student lounge. “I know it’s my job to say that, but in this case it’s really true.”

The facility will provide business students a place of their own. Previously, their classes were scheduled in several buildings on campus.

Carissa Barton, a sophomore marketing major, will take most of her classes at Barry Hall when she gets deeper into her major.

“I’m really excited because it’s a humongous building,” Barton said. “It’s going to be a great place for business people to collaborate.”

Several agribusiness students resisted moving downtown, primarily because of concerns about being separated from the College of Agriculture.

Sherlock, an agribusiness major with minors in crop and weed science and business administration, estimates it will take him an extra semester to graduate due to new scheduling conflicts.

It will also be more difficult for him to have office hours in the student government office, which is on the main campus, Sherlock said.

But overall, the advantages of the new facility outweigh the challenges, he said.

There will be new networking opportunities and students will be able to interact with businesses, Sherlock said.

AgCountry, a major donor for the facility, plans to hold some business meetings in Barry Hall.

The North Dakota Trade Office also will occupy space in the facility, opening up new opportunities for students.

Executive Director Susan Geib said there will be closer partnerships starting this fall, including a new export assistant program that will involve graduate students.

Students will feel like they’re in a global business environment, with a digital world clock and stock tickers on the walls.

“This would be an incredible facility for any university in the world,” Chapman said. “It’s going to give our students an educational environment that’s absolutely first class, premier.”

A major emphasis with the downtown expansion is to ensure that students have access to the same services there that they do on the main campus.

That includes a Bison Connection, which offers student services such as financial aid and registration, a coffee shop and a computer help desk.

Amber Altstadt, NDSU’s student body president, said students’ main concern is transportation.

Parking will be limited downtown, so students are encouraged to take buses that will arrive every 12 minutes from the north end of the campus.

“It’s going to be a change for many of us, but we’ll adjust to it,” Altstadt said.

Classes aren’t scheduled to capacity in Barry this fall to ease into the transition. Additional general education classes will be scheduled downtown in the future.

Officials will monitor things this fall to see if adjustments are needed.

“Anytime you do something of this magnitude, there will be issues that come up that you probably haven’t thought of,” Chapman said.

Coming up

# Monday: Downtown businesses prepare for influx of new students.

# Tuesday: Demand for housing increases downtown.

# Wednesday: Transit officials prepare for transportation, parking needs.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590


Aug 17, 2009, 6:25 PM
SERIES: Downtown businesses hope for boost from NDSU
By: Craig McEwen, INFORUM

Downtown Fargo businesses hope that several thousand North Dakota State University students, soon to become their neighbors, will become their customers as well.

There’s constant talk up and down city-center streets about the student infusion and what it may mean, said Dave Anderson, president of Fargo’s Downtown Community Partnership.

NDSU now has three classroom buildings located downtown, and the university will manage 104 apartments housing a maximum of 220 students in the new five-story Cityscapes complex at 630 1st Ave. N.

This fall, more than 2,500 NDSU students will be enrolled in classes downtown, a number that university officials predict could reach as high as 4,000 in the future.

There’s a lot of anticipation, Anderson said, and concern over how to welcome the students, not only as prospective customers but also new neighbors.

Students, as well, seem excited about the off-campus experience.

NDSU third-year doctoral student Khalid Bahkar said it reminds him of the learning environment he experienced while studying in Paris, but on a much smaller scale than its prestigious Champs-Elysees shopping and cultural center.

“I like sometimes to enjoy myself by walking to different stores and catching events happening in downtown,” said Bahkar, an American citizen from Morocco who will be living in Cityscapes.

“So I like living downtown. It’s the center of everything,” he said.

Since spring, fifth-year NDSU landscape architecture student Kyle Slivnik has been attending classes downtown at Klai Hall.

That’s given him more exposure to downtown Fargo, he said, despite already living close to that area.

“It definitely has caused me to stop in at especially places to eat and things like that,” said Slivnik.

Other students are also spending more time downtown than they did when on campus, he said, stopping to grab a cup of coffee or other items.

“It’s just kind of nice to get away from the building and remove yourself from the actual campus setting for a couple of minutes,” Slivnik said.

Eager merchants

For six months Cityscapes has been rising from the ruins of a former theater on stilts, drawing stares from street gawkers and glances from passing motorists.

In addition to housing NDSU students, the Cityscapes project will contain a 2,000-square-foot campus police substation to be completed by mid-September and a 5,000-square-foot college bookstore operated by the university expected to open in October, said Paul Johnson, Cityscapes senior commercial realtor.

The apartments are ready and students started moving in today, Johnson said.

“We’ve contracted with the resident life office at NDSU to market and lease those apartments,” he said.

The police substation and bookstore will be located on the main floor, Johnson said.

“We’re continuing to negotiate with a coffee shop, two fast-food places, two sit-down restaurants, a fitness center and a combination grocery store/convenience store,” he said, also planned for the main floor.

Across the street, a half-dozen specialty shop proprietors are eager to find out what the potential influx of customers fitting their stores’ age demographic will mean.

“I don’t see how it couldn’t be good for everyone down here, having all these kids,” said Matt Oland, 24-year-old owner of Orange Records, which he opened in 2007 at 641 1st Ave. N.

“There should be a lot of new faces that have never seen the store before,” he said.

Ditto, say the owners of This Skate and Snow, a skateboard, snowboard, clothing, accessories store and arcade at 625 1st Ave. N.

Four business partners including Steve Bohr and Matt Gatzke opened the store this spring. They previously managed a skate shop in the West Acres shopping mall.

“This is going to be that mall crowd without the mall,” said Gatzke. “They are going to treat downtown like it is a mall.”

Greg Danz, owner of Zandbroz Variety, 420 N. Broadway, has started using Facebook and Twitter to market his store to the college-connected community.

“We’re excited by the prospects of all of them being down here, for sure,” Danz said.

“We get a lot of college kids and young professionals in here as it is. I think there will be that many more of them, this much closer to us, and I expect that they will grow as part of our customer base. I hope so,” Danz said .

Change or wait-see

Some merchants have already made changes in anticipation of more business coming their way.

Others are in a wait-and-see mode.

David Sheer, owner of The Drunken Noodle, 623 NP Ave., is doubling the restaurant’s seating space.

Other than that, Scheer said he doesn’t plan any major changes.

Anthony Guerrieri, owner of Stella’s, is adding take-and-bake pizza to lure his new next-door Cityscapes neighbors to either eat in the restaurant or take back to their apartments.

Stella’s, an Italian American restaurant at 612 1st Ave. N., isn’t currently open for lunch.

“I’m tempted, but I need to see what kind of volume I can get,” said Guerrieri.

Old Broadway owner Randy Thorson said he doesn’t know what to expect.

On one hand, Thorson said he anticipates an uptick in business.

“But on the other hand, were they coming here from wherever they were living before?” he asks.

“I know there’s going to be a lot more street traffic and walking traffic and bikes and that type of thing,” Thorson said.

An exciting time

Rick Stern, vice president of Straus Clothing, is ecstatic about the influx of hundreds of potential college-age shoppers living downtown.

“That’s our demographic with our a.k.a clothing store,” Stern said, referring to the contemporary men’s shop that Straus opened at 322 Broadway in 2004.

“Everybody is very excited. Anything that brings traffic downtown is going to be great,” he said. “It’s really going to make downtown even more exciting.”

Some will grumble that the students’ presence will tie up traffic and cause parking problems.

“But man, that’s the sign of a vibrant city, I think,” Stern said.

First Presbyterian Church, 650 2nd Ave. N., is also opening its doors to students, said Bruce Maylath, a church member and NDSU faculty member.

The church plans to host a lunch for students on Wednesdays, hoping they will stay around and study if they wish, said Pastor Steve Shive.

“Many college students have a distrust of the church,” said Shive. “The only way we feel that we are going to be able to do really anything with them is by earning their trust, showing that we care about them. So we’re starting with the hospitality piece as a key component of what we do.”

There are signs, said Fargo City Planner Jim Gilmore, that other entrepreneurs are looking to cash in on business and housing opportunities that the downtown population boost may spur.

Gilmour said he expects to see more shops that cater to student needs and entertainment interests.

“People are calling up and asking how the incentive program works,” Gilmour said. “We know projects are in the works.”

Coming up

# Sunday: NDSU officials seek to keep campus unified as growth continues into the downtown.

# Monday: Downtown businesses prepare for influx of new students.

# Tuesday: Demand for housing increases downtown.

# Wednesday: Transit officials prepare for transportation, parking needs.

Readers can reach Forum Business Editor Craig McEwen at (701) 241-5502


Aug 17, 2009, 6:30 PM
Pictures from the above articles at www.inforum.com

cityscapes plaza, student housing, retail

interior of ndsu building and president joe chapman

exterior ndsu building.

went inside of the new building the other day and was very pleased with it. the top floor(6th floor) has some very nice views of downtown. wish i had brought my camera

Aug 22, 2009, 2:04 AM
NDSU DOWNTOWN IMPACT: Students squeeze, developers swarm
By: Mike Nowatzki, INFORUM

No one knows how many North Dakota State University students will move to downtown Fargo when the school’s business college opens a new headquarters there this fall.

But this much is certain: There aren’t enough downtown apartments to accommodate all of them.

That has developers taking a hard look at potential redevelopment sites.

With many of Broadway’s gaps filled and old buildings revamped in recent years, attention is shifting to areas around NDSU’s new Richard H. Barry Hall at 10th Street and Second Avenue North and Klai Hall, the architecture building that opened in January one block east.

Kevin Bartram, owner of Sterling Co., which has developed downtown apartments in Fargo and Moorhead in recent years, said interest is growing in properties as far west as University Drive.

Keeping downtown housing projects affordable for students will become more challenging as developable downtown property becomes scarcer and more expensive.

Students on Monday began moving into the first downtown housing project geared specifically toward them, the Cityscapes building at 630 1st Ave. N.

Students will write their rent checks to Cityscapes, but NDSU will manage the building as it does on-campus housing.

If successful, the project could become a model for other downtown student housing, said Michael Harwood, NDSU’s assistant dean of student life.

Harwood said developers continually ask him whether the demand will be there from students. University officials say more than 2,500 students and potentially as many as 4,000 will visit downtown daily for classes.

Officials hope to have a better grip on the housing demand by the end of fall semester, Harwood said.

“The market’s there,” he said. “But then you’ve got to ask what your price point is: What can you afford, what can you build and what’s going to help support that building?”

Demand factors

The 104 apartment units in Cityscapes aren’t full, but NDSU is getting requests for them daily, Harwood said.

As of last week, most of the 18 studio and 18 one-bedroom apartments were rented, he said. About half of the 37 two-bedroom units were spoken for, and most of the 20 three-bedroom and 11 four-bedroom units were still available.

“I think once they see what they are getting down there, they’re going to jump on it,” he said.

Not all students will want the downtown apartment life, which is different from campus atmosphere, he said. Parking access may be a bigger challenge, and some students are hesitant about the rental rates downtown, and not just at Cityscapes, he said.

A studio apartment at Cityscapes rents for $505 a month, compared with $400 a month for an on-campus apartment in Bison Court. The monthly rent for a two-bedroom, four-person Cityscapes unit is $1,180, or $470 more than a comparable unit at Bison Court.

Projects continue

So far, Cityscapes is the lone downtown apartment project reserved for students.

But students also have moved into other recent apartment projects, and more are on the way.

Students and young professionals were the targeted market and now make up a good portion of the tenants in the 21-unit Lofts on Roberts. It opened Aug. 1, 2008, and is now full, said Mike Allmendinger, general manager of Kilbourne Group, which remodeled the warehouse at 309 Roberts St.

The Kilbourne Group’s condos being finished at 300 Broadway aren’t aimed at students, but at least one retired professor has already claimed one of the units, Allmendinger said.

Kilbourne Group founder Doug Burgum bought the former Northern School Supply building at 650 NP Ave. and donated it to NDSU, which remodeled it and renamed it Renaissance Hall. Burgum believes NDSU is becoming an anchor tenant for downtown, Allmendinger said, adding the influx of students will bring a vibrant, dynamic atmosphere that will create opportunities for redevelopment.

“I know that there are a lot of properties, open spaces in downtown Fargo … that people have identified as great potential building sites, and we certainly are pursuing some of those,” he said.

Earlier this month, Burgum confirmed that Kilbourne Group has secured an option to buy the U.S. Bank parking lot and plaza on Broadway over the next three years.

Downtown Community Partnership President Dave Anderson said if the plaza is redeveloped, he doesn’t know if it would necessarily be targeted toward students, as the cost of redeveloping the property would be significant.

Bartram is currently remodeling the two-story brick building at 506 Roberts Street into 12 apartments. In October, he’ll start on the nearly 50,000-square-foot KRJ building at 503 7th St. N., just south of Hardee’s. The third floor and basement will contain 18 apartment units.

Bartram said the projects weren’t done in anticipation of NDSU students moving downtown, noting there was demand for more downtown apartments before that happened.

“But it certainly doesn’t hurt,” he said.

Another potential site for downtown apartments is the old Union Storage building at 1026 NP Ave.

Its owner, an out-of-state developer doing business as Downtown Fargo Housing Partners, plans to convert the building into 56 rental units, said Konrad Olson, the real estate broker for the property.

Olson said the owner is moving forward with those plans, trying to secure a housing tax credit, but also would sell the building to a willing developer.

Olson, a well-known commercial property broker, said he’s aware of “a lot of interest” in the neighborhood around the new NDSU buildings.

Tool of encouragement

Changes to the city of Fargo’s Renaissance Zone could spur development around NDSU’s footholds.

The city recently approved adding three new blocks to the zone and swapping out four existing blocks in the zone, which would provide property and income tax incentives for those properties to be redeveloped.

The four relocated blocks are west of 10th Street, across from Barry Hall. Current occupants of the blocks include Woodrow Wilson School and Taco Bell, whose owners have both said there’s interest in redeveloping the properties, Fargo Senior Planner Bob Stein said.

The blocks immediately north of Barry Hall and Klai Hall, which aren’t in the Renaissance Zone, contain a number of single-family residences and income property but have development potential, Anderson said.

Between the blocks west and north of the NDSU facilities, “That’s a neighborhood that really has a lot of various empty lots and underused properties,” he said.

Rent higher downtown than on campus

Rental rates for North Dakota State University students living in the new Cityscapes building in downtown Fargo are higher than the Bison Court apartments on the main NDSU campus.

Unit type (capacity) Cityscapes Bison Court

Studio (one student) $505/month $400/month

One bedroom (two students) $805/month $525/month

Two bedroom (three students) $1,180/month $710/month

Three bedroom (three students) $1,506/month n/a*

Four bedroom (four students) $1,830/month n/a*

* Bison Court doesn’t have three- or four-bedroom units.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528


Aug 22, 2009, 3:39 PM
Thought some of the Fargo forum members might be interested:

Winnipeg Free Press
Fargo Renaissance? Oh yah, oh yah
Smart hotels, unique boutiques, teeming downtown streets -- Wood-Chip Marge would be totally impressed

By: Julie Carl and Jane Carl

The Fargo of 10 years ago, mind you, after the fame of the Cohen brothers' award-winning movie, but before the downtown's Renaissance had taken hold. The Fargo which could be any number of mid-sized, Midwest cities, only this one had the dubious honour of having a goofy movie named for it. Visitors have been mimicking that accent ever since, oh yah, oh yah.

The poster, no doubt, was created tongue in cheek.

But it's not so funny anymore. Now, Fargo's downtown is a charming spot with smart hotels, an arts movie house, art galleries, a yoga studio, boutiques and restaurants for all tastes. The streets teem with people; students and university workers pour in and out of Renaissance Hall, the home of North Dakota State University's visual arts department and portions of its architecture and landscape architecture programs, right downtown.

The 100-year-old building, once a farm equipment dealership warehouse, is a fine example of what's going right in downtown Fargo where old warehouses become art galleries, train stations turn into bike shops, a flophouse is now a sleek boutique hotel.

At 360 kilometres away, Fargo makes a perfect weekend escape from Winnipeg.

Plan to arrive Friday night as many of the downtown shops do not open Sunday. There's plenty to keep you busy, but you'll be sad, your nose pressed up against the shop windows, if you didn't finish with the boutiques on Saturday.

The Radisson Hotel Fargo is just a block off the main strip, at Fifth Street and Second Avenue. Plan to park your car for the weekend and walk everywhere.

A good place to start is the Fargo Theatre, fully restored to all its art deco glory. From the Radisson, walk down Second Avenue and turn right on Broadway. You can't miss it.

The Fargo Theatre was one of the first rays of hope in the downtown. In 1998, its owners began a major renovation to fully restore the 870-seat theatre. Built in 1926 for film and vaudeville, the theatre now features classic and first-run films, live theatre and a Mighty WurliTzer pipe organ which provides intermission music. The theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Fargo Theatre might be the birthplace of the new, improved Fargo downtown (a point still debated among locals), but it has not forgotten the old. Upstairs, among the film paraphernalia and ancient projectors, is a larger than life statue entitled Wood-Chip Marge - an ode to Police Chief Marge Gunderson, Frances McDormand's character in the movie Fargo - presented to the city by MGM Home Entertainment.

Give yourself lots of time to meander along Broadway and the side streets to experience the art galleries, boutiques and specialty shops.

Don't miss Gallery 4, Ltd. or the building it's in, the Black Building, a beautiful art deco design -- check out the elevator -- on Broadway just east of Second Avenue. Gallery 4, Ltd. is an art co-operative, with 14 local artists sharing the duties of "minding the store" in return for an outlet to sell their work. It has a terrific array of metal sculpture, including the work of creative welder Kyle Thomas.

Ecce art + yoga, at 216 Broadway, carries local and regional artists, and also showcases international designers -- including Tord Boontje. You can drop in on a yoga class for $10.

When you're wandering the shops, be sure not to miss Zandbroz, 420 Broadway, perhaps the most fun shop on the strip with its collection of toys, books, jewelry and home decor. The owners have dubbed it their personal antidote to a Walmart world. You'll know it by the amazing window displays: recently it was a fairy tale tulle dress with spider plant leaf streamers. It's open on Sunday when most others aren't.

Also open on Sunday is the Plains Art Museum. Housed in a refurbished International Harvester building, it was an early pioneer in the rejuvenation of Fargo's downtown.

The drawings of Frank Big Bear, which pay homage to his Ojibwe culture, are on display until Sept. 27. The museum offers printmaking displays in its studio on weekends and occasional art workshops for children and adults. To see what's coming up, go to: http://www.plainsart.org/education/.

Also on Sunday, you can rent a bike from the Great Northern Bike Company, in the train station that used to service the Great Northern Line. It's on Broadway across and down a little bit from Zandbroz. Try the roast pistachio gelato in the Clock Tower Café right in the bike shop.

If you're feeling really energetic, you could nip over the state line to Minnesota - it's a bit of a hike, but take First Avenue east to the Heritage Hjemkomst Interpretive Centre - and rent a kayak on the Red River. You won't recognize it from the Red River Winnipeggers know and love.

To round out your visit, if it's a clear night (any night but Saturday), hit the rooftop of the Hotel Donaldson, HoDo to friends, on the corner of First and Broadway. There are some high tech looking tables and chairs among a garden of indigenous grasses and sculptures. The sky is just about as wide as you'd expect a prairie sky to be and all of Fargo spreads out before you.

Try a Dirty Fur Trader, a house specialty: a shot of Hendrick's gin, with fresh mint and cucumber and a splash of 7Up.

Marge Gunderson would approve. Oh yah, oh yah.


Aug 22, 2009, 4:59 PM
that's an awesome article rrskylar. thanks!

here's something from the trade talk section of the paper

Trade Talk: Drunken Noodle to add location
By: Craig McEwen and Tracy Frank, INFORUM

A second Drunken Noodle restaurant will open soon in Fargo.

Plans are in the works to open the restaurant in the former Saffron location, at 3003 32nd Ave. S.

“We think there’s room for this kind of restaurant in this area, too,” said Dave Scheer, who owns the Drunken Noodle restaurants, along with Thai Orchid in Moorhead and LeeLa Thai Cuisine in Fargo with his son-in-law Thamrong Dechawuth.

“There are a lot of businesses here and retail, and they need to eat lunch,” Scheer said.

He expects the business to open Sept. 1.

The restaurant will have a few more Asian dishes than the original Drunken Noodle, which opened at 623 NP Ave. N. in Fargo, last spring.

The restaurants are named after a menu item that includes stir-fried rice noodles, basil, broccoli, onions, garlic, bell pepper, jalapenos and Thai chili.

Drunken Noodle is a casual-dining restaurant that offers a range of Asian, American and Italian pasta dishes as well as cocktail plates and soups.

Dunn Bros Coffee planned for Town Center

Dunn Bros Coffee plans to open an 1,800-square-foot coffee shop in Town Center, 1310 25th St. S.

The company has leased space in the strip mall formerly occupied by Starbucks Coffee, which closed in late 2008.

Franchisees Meghanne and Isaac Poku hope to have the business open before Jan. 1.

Town Center was completed in 2007 with Blockbuster Video as lead tenant. Extreme Pita is also located in the mall.

Aug 23, 2009, 6:15 PM
Oh THANK GOD something is going into that dead strip mall. Starbucks, Taco Del Mar and Entrees closed up shop there recently.

And anyone know why the hell that huge Sun Mart grocery store on 25th and 13th closed down recently??

Aug 24, 2009, 2:31 AM
And anyone know why the hell that huge Sun Mart grocery store on 25th and 13th closed down recently??

I heard something about them losing their lease but not 100% positive

Aug 24, 2009, 5:50 AM
I believe that the owner of the building had a tie to the Super-Valu corporation that is the parent company of Hornbacher's in town while the Nash Finch corporation is the parent company of Sun Mart. So it would appear that they lost their lease but it was unrelated to sales. This is all if I remember it correctly.

Aug 25, 2009, 2:25 AM
If I were to start a business anywhere in FM it WOULD NOT BE ON THE CORNER OF 13th and 25th st's, seems like its the epicenter of FAIL!:(

Aug 25, 2009, 5:04 AM
You could say the same of 13th and 45th...

Aug 28, 2009, 11:34 AM
You could say the same of 13th and 45th...

Not really, the only business that has closed in the past 2 years is the Krispy Kreme fat factory??? everything else is going strong

but looks like Moorhead will be getting F-M's 3rd Buffalo Wild Wings, not long and there will be a applebees over there too I bet


Aug 29, 2009, 7:00 AM
The office depot is holding on by a string, trust me I worked there. Krispy kreme closed. Hancock fabrics closed. Media play closed. Builders square, then Kmart closed. So not the best track record. Im not saying the corner is dead or anything but rather I was trying to show that 13th and 25th will come back from the closures just as 45th and 13th has come back from its closures.

Aug 30, 2009, 3:41 PM
an interesting group of articles about Moorhead development today

Booming or busting? Some Moorhead corridors thrive, others struggle
First of a two-day report
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

The business corridors of Moorhead tell two entirely different stories today.

The once-vibrant Center Avenue and First Avenue North through the heart of Moorhead’s downtown are dotted with vacant buildings and stretches of grass where elevators from its old agricultural roots once stood.

At the Moorhead Center Mall tucked between both busy corridors, 18 storefronts sit dark.

And yet, not far away, the intersection of Main Avenue and Fourth Street is bustling with several small independent businesses, lots of mixed-use housing and an upscale dining option.

Much farther south, it appears the area of Eighth Street and Interstate 94 is beginning to fill in with small businesses and services, as was envisioned years ago when the old Holiday Mall was torn down to make way for the newer Holiday Center.

And Moorhead’s east side along Highway 10 has met Dilworth’s booming west side to create a strong commercial gateway into both communities.

So, will Moorhead’s centers of business activity continue to follow its new housing south and east, or is there hope that the city’s core can become strong again?

The answer to that depends on whom you talk to.

Moorhead’s mayor and development director say the turnaround for both Center Avenue and First Avenue North may be just around the corner.

But longtime critics of the city’s business climate say don’t bet on it. They say Moorhead naturally suffers when it comes to attracting businesses because of its proximity to less-regulatory and cheaper North Dakota.

Don’t tell that to Moorhead Mayor Mark Voxland and Peter Doll, Moorhead’s manager of development services.

They say, even despite the economic downturn, the value of Moorhead’s existing commercial property was up 5 to 8 percent last year.

Most of the increase is along major traffic corridors such as Eighth Street South, Main Avenue, Southeast Main Avenue, Highway 10 and 30th Avenue South, Doll said.

Property along Eighth Street, which a few years ago would maybe fetch $5 a square foot, now sells for three and four times that, Doll said. Substantial chunks of land along Highway 10 that were valued at $1 a square foot a few years ago are now selling for $5 or $6.

“Our corridors are developing, and people are starting to see the reality and the strength of them,” he said.

Doll also predicts Moorhead will see substantial growth in the next five years, given some projects that are either planned or well under way, such as:

The Main Avenue and Fourth Street mixed-use development of apartments, condos, restaurants and service businesses is on its last phase and is nearly full. There are 69 apartments, which are full, and all but about 3,000 square feet of commercial space is filled, said developer Kevin Bartram, president of Sterling Cos. and Mutchler Bartram Architects, the companies working on the development.

A development planned for Eighth Street and 40th Avenue South by Kevin Christianson, the developer behind Fargo’s Osgood and the owner of Paces Lodging, will be a 22-acre complex containing a 35,000-square-foot strip mall and a separate grocery store, restaurant and bank. It will be similar to Osgood, Doll said.

Moorhead is working on road improvement plans that Voxland and Doll say could help the First Avenue North corridor reach full potential by attracting more businesses.

Voxland categorizes recent business activity in Moorhead as stable.

“How we come out of the economic downturn nationally, of course, will determine a lot of what will happen,” Voxland said. “When I talk to a major retailer – one of the biggest in the Fargo-Moorhead area – and he has trouble getting credit, that amazes me. I can kind of understand where big buildings aren’t being put up.”

Others aren’t so sure the growth will happen.

Randy Stefanson, an attorney in Moorhead for 40 years and whose wife, Corinne Stefanson, owns The Classic clothing store in the Moorhead Center Mall, says he’s heard the city try to sell the promise of a future business boom before and he’s not buying it.

“I’ve heard that for so many years,” he said. “Whether or not Moorhead actually ever becomes competitive is a real question. The question further is how are they going to do it? They’ve struggled with that.”

He said it has been less expensive to do business in North Dakota because Minnesota has higher workers’ compensation rates and corporate income taxes.

According to the 2008 Oregon Workers’ Compensation Premium Rate Ranking Summary, North Dakota had the lowest premium rate index of $1.08 per $100 of payroll. Minnesota’s premium rate index was $2.33 per $100 of payroll.

Bryan Klipfel, North Dakota Workforce Safety & Insurance director, said North Dakota has had the lowest premium for probably the last eight years.

“I think it really does help business because it helps their bottom line,” Klipfel said.

Mary Kay Fabre, who has owned Merle Norman Cosmetics in the Moorhead Center Mall for 20 years, also cited higher worker’s comp rates and minimum wage for restaurant servers as a reason Moorhead loses business to Fargo.

While minimum wage is $7.25 in both states, North Dakota allows businesses to use a tip credit and pay servers a minimum of $4.86 an hour. Minnesota law does not allow a tip credit against an employee’s wage.

Fabre also said Moorhead hasn’t done as much as it could to attract and retain bigger retailers, citing Best Buy’s 1994 exodus to Fargo after nine years in Moorhead.

“You don’t let Best Buy go,” she said. “I don’t care if you have to offer them the moon – offer them the moon.”

Fabre said the city also offered incentives for businesses to expand in the mall, but did not do anything for small businesses like hers. The businesses that benefitted from that program are no longer there, she said.

Stefanson and Pete Marinucci, owner of the Shop & Wash Laundromat in north Moorhead, say Moorhead should accept its status as a bedroom community.

“Compared to Fargo, we’re not even in the game,” Stefanson said. “Perhaps we ought to just accept that and make us the best bedroom community we can be.”

Marinucci said being a bedroom community is not a bad thing if the city develops a housing plan.

“What the city of Moorhead, council and staff seem to absolutely refuse to acknowledge is that Fargo is the business district,” said Marinucci, who ran unsuccessfully for city council in 2007.

“Business goes where it’s welcome and stays where it’s treated well,” he said. “If Moorhead was such a wonderful place to do business, where are all the businesses?”

Coming Monday

Moorhead Center Mall: The number of stores in Moorhead Center Mall has been dwindling over the past decade, but shops there now say they are doing well despite 18 vacancies. Mall managers have been trying to fill the empty spaces, but the recessionary economy derailed their plans. Read more in Monday’s Forum.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526

blight spot

bright spot


Aug 30, 2009, 3:45 PM
First Avenue North: Business owners wary of some changes
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Moorhead’s First Avenue North could be much more than it is today, say both the mayor and city development director.

“It should be a commercial corridor that adds substantial wealth and value and community pride, not marginal,” said Pete Doll, manager of development services.

The second-busiest corridor in the city, with as many as 20,000 vehicles daily, it has good commercial potential, Mayor Mark Voxland said.

The City Council is talking about redoing First Avenue North from Eighth Street east to Highway 10. Council members are discussing whether to do street repairs only or add sidewalks and decorative street lights and bury power lines, Voxland said.

Not all business owners on the stretch welcome the proposed changes.

“Improvements would always be nice,” said David Scheer, co-owner of Thai Orchid restaurant. But those improvements could cost his eatery $50,000 and remove direct entrances to his parking lot, he said.

“To me, it was just a total negative,” Scheer said, adding that businesses signed a petition asking Moorhead not to go forward with the project.

“No business that I know was in favor of it,” he said.

Pat Kovash, owner of Kovash Marine, 1417 1st Ave. N., and Les Stenerson, manager of Stenerson Lumber, 1702 1st Ave, N., circulated the petition.

“I had the signature of every private business owner on record,” Kovash said. “We do feel that First Avenue needs some improvements. The road definitely needs to be done.”

But extras like colored concrete and decorative gate panels aren’t necessary, he said.

“I have proven that First Avenue is great for certain niche businesses,” said Kovash, who opened his business five years ago.

Kovash said he’s a big believer in private enterprise.

“If First (Avenue) is a great place to locate and it’s going to be profitable, then people are going to come in,” he said.

Council members discussed the road improvement plans at their June 8 meeting. Several opposed supporting the project now because of the weaker economic climate. Others called the corridor an embarrassment and said more than asphalt is needed to improve it.

The issue was tabled. The city council will likely take it up again in September, Voxland said.

Kovash said he thinks the reason land on First Avenue North is not selling is because the city has looked into the possibility of installing an underpass beneath railroad tracks at either 11th Street or 14th Street.

Doll doesn’t believe the proposed underpass is the reason vacant properties have not sold. He said the underpass, if approved, is 10 to 20 years away.

There are property owners in that area “kicking tires” and ready to make some moves once they see what the city does on First Avenue, Doll said.

“We’ve seen a real change there over the last 20 years,” he said. “Probably the only industrial thing that’s left is Aggregate Industries.”

The city is working with Aggregate Industries to sell its 7.5-acre site for redevelopment and clean-up.

Doll said its configuration will likely draw a strip mall similar to what’s found along Highway 10, offering space for fast-food restaurants, banks or a convenience store in front of a second strip of shops that would include clothing stores.

Aggregate Industries officials did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Nearby, a long-term care facility for chronically homeless people is under construction west of Churches United for the Homeless at 1901 1st Ave. N.

The $3.8 million Gateway Gardens will contain three floors of residential space above a main floor service center. It is being built on the site of a former fuel tank farm, Doll said.

In 2003, two rundown grain elevators were demolished at 1101 1st Ave. N. and 1516 Main Ave.

The city of Moorhead paid about $700,000 to buy the elevators and land, which has not been developed.

City officials say they are waiting for a “home-run” offer on the city-owned property and expect it to develop after improvements are made to the corridor.

“Now that we’ve got the whistle-free zone, (railroad) safety zone going through, we think the property has some good potential uses,” Voxland said. “There are people who have talked with us about purchasing that property, but they want to wait and see what we do.”

Tags: moorhead, minnesota, communities, news


Aug 30, 2009, 3:48 PM
Main Avenue: Area transformed by $20 million in developments
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Examples of city-center development are evident on all sides of the Main Avenue and Fourth Street intersection – a busy Red River gateway connecting Moorhead with Fargo.

“It was sort of an untapped area of town,” developer Kevin Bartram said.

The city started redevelopment there by buying 12 businesses and a few rental properties, demolishing the buildings they were in and cleaning up asbestos, lead paint, soil and groundwater contamination.

Fargo-based Mutchler Bartram Architects and Sterling Companies transformed the area into a $20 million mixed-use development of housing, restaurants, coffee shops and service businesses, including salons, a yoga studio and a dental office.

Some of the former businesses, like Atomic Coffee, reopened in the new development.

Farmers Insurance Group - Leroy Anderson Agency, moved into the Moorhead Center Mall.

Crown Trophy relocated to Fargo. Popular, iconic hangout Ralph’s Corner Bar never reopened.

Initially, the redevelopment effort spurred controversy. The city told businesses to accept a buyout or agree to renovations. The city planned to condemn businesses that did nothing.

Ralph’s Corner accepted Moorhead’s buyout offer only a few hours before the city council was to consider starting condemnation.

Some in the community are still bitter over how that was handled.

“It was extremely frustrating because it was a successful business,” said Chris Hennen, a band promoter at the Aquarium concert venue in Fargo who used to be a promoter at Ralph’s.

“It didn’t make a lot of sense; in particular when they forced it out of business and then nothing went there for months,” he said.

City officials say the development has brought vitality to downtown.

“I believe there are few people in the community who would say that’s not a successful redevelopment,” said Peter Doll, manager of city development services.

Juan and Annele Mondragon opened three businesses in the new development: Juano’s Burrito Shop in 2006, Juano’s Latin Bar in 2007 and John Alexander’s restaurant in 2008.

“We like downtowns. We’re in downtown Fargo. We thought that it would be a good opportunity to go into Moorhead,” Juan Mondragon said. “Moorhead lacks activity as far as restaurants, so we thought it would be a good idea.”


The location has been excellent, he said.

“There’s no comparison,” between the area now and what it used to look like, Mondragon said. “I think it’s a huge improvement for the city of Moorhead.”

The development also has 69 apartments that are full, Bartram said.

The final phase of the project, now under construction with plans for completion in the spring, is a neighboring 52-unit apartment building near Third Street and Main Avenue.

Bartram said the initial plan was for more condos, but the market wasn’t there.

“When we started, the demand wasn’t really known in downtown Moorhead,” he said. “It was a little bit of a risk.”

Nearing the project’s end, Bartram says it was worth the risk. The first phase of the project started in 2004. The last phase will be complete in 2010. About 3,000 square feet of commercial space remains, which could accommodate one to three tenants, he said.

Voxland says the project is putting people downtown.

The city granted $3.1 million in tax-increment financing (TIF) to Sterling Companies, Doll said.

TIF allows a developer to receive a percentage of the assessed taxes for a specified period of time to help pay construction loans, Doll said.

Tags: roads, construction, moorhead, minnesota, communities, news

Aug 30, 2009, 3:51 PM
Eighth Street at I-94: Economic development has picked up
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

Economic development activity has picked up along Eighth Street South in Moorhead.

Property that once sold for $5 a square foot north of Interstate 94 now sells for $15 to $20 a square foot.

“That’s extremely high,” said Peter Doll, manager of city development services.

Just south of I-94, construction has begun on a new Walgreens, replacing Bud’s Service Center, a longtime Moorhead business.

At Belsly Boulevard, the Mallard Creek Commons development, built two years ago, is nearly full, said Andy Skatvold, CEO of Paragon Development, a partner in the development owned by MARS Property Group.

The two-building venture includes Panchero’s Mexican Grill and Dave’s Southside Tap.

Half of the development filled right away. There is one 1,400 square-foot space left. There are also two vacant lots for future expansion.

“It’s been a lot more difficult over the past 18 months,” to lease space, Skatvold said. “You’re having to give and take a little bit more to lure tenants.”

After a lengthy standstill, businesses are moving into the Holiday Center just north of I-94.

Revitalization plans for what was once the Holiday Mall first surfaced in spring 2000. Moorhead Holiday Associates LLP planned to build a full-service hotel and conference center, major retailer, retail strip mall, branch bank and restaurant on the 24-acre site.

In April 2001, Moorhead Holiday Associates completed the $3.6 million purchase of the Holiday Mall.

Three years and

$41 million later, a good part of the development remained empty except for the Courtyard by Marriott hotel and attached Moorhead Area Conference Center, Village Inn restaurant and a Wells Fargo Bank branch.

The city of Moorhead spent $14 million in taxpayer money to buy, clear, clean and prepare the property for development. A $383,000 state grant helped clean up pollution at the site.

Recently, new development activity has occurred.

River Pointe of Moorhead, a 77-unit senior-living community, is slated to open in the Holiday Center this fall. It offers independent- and assisted-living apartments and memory-care units for people with dementia.

“We’re kind of excited about the retirement community because that’s going to put a lot of people adjacent to the property, which should help us with smaller-service businesses,” said Tom Kiewel, a Fargo-based commercial and investment real estate agent with Coldwell Banker First Realty – Encore, which represents Moorhead Holiday Associates.

A Quiznos restaurant is going into the building next to Qdoba and Starbucks.

Midwest Community Residential Services has also moved in.

Proximity to three colleges – Concordia, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Minnesota State Community and Technical College Moorhead – is a selling point, but the economy is affecting how soon the spaces fill, Kiewel said.

“In general, people just aren’t making decisions quite as fast as they used to,” he said. “We’re not seeing the people from outside the area as much.”

Two lots remain for sale along with about 25,000 square-feet of space in the office and retail development.

Kiewel said he’s working on attracting a fitness center or clinic to the 21,000 square-foot glass-walled space that has remained empty since it was built.“We’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not going to be a typical retail strip mall,” Kiewel said. “We’re looking for more service-oriented businesses to complement the assisted living and the people who are there.”


Sep 9, 2009, 4:24 AM

Airline passenger traffic in August at Hector International Airport showed an increase as compared to the same month in 2008. In August 2009, the passenger enplanements were 33,133. This is an increase of 15.3% when compared to the August 2008 passenger enplanements of 28,729.

Total passenger count for the month was 66,178, which is up 15.1% over the same period last year.


Sep 17, 2009, 4:06 AM
Housing complex in works near NDSU
By: Amy Dalrymple, INFORUM

A developer is proposing a 200-unit apartment complex just south of North Dakota State University to house up to 450 residents.

The project, still in the planning stages, would be southwest of NDSU’s T parking lot along 12th Avenue North.

Roers’ Development of Fargo is working with NDSU to enter into a lease agreement for a portion of undeveloped grassland near the parking lot.

The issue will go before the state Board of Higher Education on Thursday.

Jim Roers, president of Roers’ Development, said there’s a huge demand for student housing close to campus.

The company also owns the Stop-N-Go Center on 19th Avenue North, which Roers said is 93 percent occupied by students.

Before the project can move forward, Roers plans to work with city officials to secure tax increment financing.

Roers either owns or has purchase agreements for several properties that are in the area he’s looking to develop. Some are vacant and “blighted,” and others are occupied, he said.

If the project clears the necessary hurdles, construction could begin this year and be complete about a year from now, Roers said.

He does not anticipate it will be done for the start of the fall semester.

The complex would be privately owned and operated. It would have a combination of efficiencies and one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units, Roers said.

The project uses the city’s new University Mixed Use zoning code, which calls for denser development west of Johnson Park.

Amy Rand, president of the Roosevelt Neighborhood Association, said high-density housing closer to campus will take some of the pressure off the rest of the neighborhood.

“That is exactly the type of development that we are hoping to see in that area of the neighborhood,” Rand said.

The main concern residents may have is that the project needs adequate parking, she said.

The complex would have parking both above and below ground, Roers said. NDSU also may sell permits for the T lot to residents.


Sep 17, 2009, 4:24 PM
New airline service to Chicago O'Hare, via American Eagle of American Airlines.


Sep 23, 2009, 12:08 PM
I WONDERED what they were going to do with those boarded up buildings near the university.

Has anyone had a chance to personally photograph the new downtown buildings? I would be curious to see them from the inside.

When I talk to business owners downtown, they say that they see a definite difference.

Sep 25, 2009, 2:35 AM
Does anyone know what is being built next to the West Fargo Bobcat?

Sep 25, 2009, 2:42 AM
it's the headquarters for some energy business. i posted the forum article a couple pages ago

Sep 25, 2009, 10:08 PM
I didn't realize there was so many of us on here. I can't wait to leave and move to Chicago or NYC.

24 years of ND is enough.

Say, what is the height limit downtown? Is it the Radisson?

Sep 27, 2009, 2:58 AM
I didn't realize there was so many of us on here. I can't wait to leave and move to Chicago or NYC.

24 years of ND is enough.

Then go, get out of here.

Sep 27, 2009, 7:13 AM
Good luck meh_cd. I dont blame you, I cant wait to move myself....been here over 2 long years ha.

Sep 27, 2009, 9:01 PM
I just drove through Fargo-Moorhead a few weeks ago. Walked through downtown, and drove down South University and a few other streets on the way to I-94 and Minneapolis. Fargo, I have to say is one of the prettiest cities I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. Seems like a booming town.

Sep 28, 2009, 5:16 AM
Neighbors to discuss building project planned near MSUM
By: Dave Olson, INFORUM

The developer of a controversial $10 million student housing complex proposed near Minnesota State University Moorhead said his plan may have to be modified after a neighborhood meeting planned for Tuesday night.

Developer Dean Ahmann won’t formally ask to have the property rezoned until November. However, the Tuesday meeting will allow residents, who say the project doesn’t fit with the neighborhood, to air their complaints.

Meanwhile, one Moorhead couple is warning the city to proceed cautiously with Ahmann, having experienced their own problems with one of his past development projects.

Ahmann has formed a company called Aristotek, which plans to build the four-story structure on part of a city block across the street from the MSUM campus.

Plans for what is being called Campus Commons envision 30 four-bedroom apartments, three three-bedroom apartments and four one-bedroom units.

About 30 percent of the lower level would be devoted to things such as coffee and pizza shops and perhaps a pub, according to Ahmann.

Ahmann plans to go before the Moorhead Planning Commission in November with a request to have the area rezoned for mixed use. It is currently zoned residential.

Ahmann made an informal presentation to the commission in September, which caused a stir among people in the neighborhood, said Donna McMaster, who lives at 906 7th Ave. S.

McMaster said she and her neighbors aren’t opposed to development, but she said they believe the current design, with its four-story building, seems oversized for the available space.

“I think the neighbors are pretty much in agreement that a two-story building would be fine. The scale of a two-story building would fit into the neighborhood,” said McMaster, who has lived in the neighborhood since 1975.

Ahmann has experienced conflict with his own neighbors in recent years.

Craig and Joanne Proehl used to live in the same neighborhood as Ahmann when Ahmann was the developer who built the twin home they live in.

In 2007, the couple filed an action in Clay County District Court against Ahmann and his company, D&S Builders, seeking about $1,800 for repairs and other work they say he promised to do but didn’t follow through on.

The court granted the Proehls a judgment, which remains unpaid.

It is one of several judgments on file in Clay County District Court and Cass County District Court that name Ahmann, or D&S Builders, as a defendant.

They include at least two judgments of more than $20,000 each and one for more than $51,000, the latter stemming from an action filed in 2005 in Cass County District Court.

Court records show the $51,000 judgment was satisfied in early 2009.

Ahmann said he has satisfied several other judgments as well, stating they had to do with business disputes.

He said an eviction action filed against him in Clay County District Court has also been settled. That action, filed in 2007, sought $8,225 for nonpayment of rent.

According to a document filed with the eviction action, Ahmann did not pay several months rent on a home he leased for $1,400 a month.

Ahmann said the eviction involved a dispute with business partners.

Craig Proehl said when he recently learned that Ahmann was proposing a new development, he went to a city council member and voiced his concerns.

Any rezoning request is ultimately decided by the city council, according to Kristie Leshovsky, acting city planner.

Ahmann said if the rezoning is successful he has purchase agreements in place to buy about nine parcels on the city block located across 10th Street from MSUM.

He said the parcels are rental properties, adding that residents of the neighborhood may decide to welcome the project after learning more about it.

“I think once a lot of them see what’s happening and what we’re taking out, I think they’ll be more open to it,” said Ahmann.

McMaster said her neighborhood has experienced problems with rental properties in the past, but she said many of the issues disappeared after the city cracked down with tougher regulations.

“After the city set things up so they could revoke rental licenses, everything quieted down,” she said. “It was amazing to see not only neighbors, but my husband and me, putting money into our homes because it was worth it,” said McMaster.

“If you go up and down Ninth Street,” she said, “you’ll see a lot of the houses have signs that say, ‘Historic Comstock Neighborhood’ and then the year the home was built. We take great pride in our homes.”

Ahmann said he hopes the project will get the necessary approval from the city early enough for demolition of existing properties to start early next year.

Leshovsky said the city planning office provided Ahmann with information on basic building codes as well as the process he needs to complete for a rezoning and amendment of the city’s comprehensive plan.

Leshovsky said Ahmann talked about possibly sharing parking with MSUM, but she said a university official has said the project will have to stand on its own.

Ahmann said he is working on the development along with a cousin, Robert Ahmann, from Rochester, Minn., and a development company from Rochester.

He said one compromise they are considering to make the project more acceptable to neighbors is to run the building parallel with 10th Street, situating it directly across from MSUM.

Current plans have the building facing Seventh Avenue.

“If we have to make some compromises to make them (residents) happy, we’ll take a look at that,” said Ahmann.

He said the project was inspired by a similar development in Madison, Wis., that focuses on student housing.

Ahmann said the Moorhead project has been in the works for about two years and began with help from an MSUM marketing class, which he said did a study using focus groups.


Sep 30, 2009, 6:00 PM
Good luck meh_cd. I dont blame you, I cant wait to move myself....been here over 2 long years ha.

Oh yeah, cause Soo Falls is soooo much better?? At least we can get actual rock bands to play shows in F-M...

Sep 30, 2009, 7:03 PM
hey now let's not start this again