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Dave Olson, Published August 02 2013

Fargo’s 52nd Avenue a hotbed of development

FARGO – Fargo is a growing city and nowhere is it growing faster than along 52nd Avenue South in the area of Interstate 29.

A flurry of housing and commercial development is springing up near the avenue, with the total number of proposed housing units approaching 3,000.

One development, Christianson’s First Addition, is looking to create as many as 900 apartment units.

The developer, Paces Lodging, has also set aside a large chunk of land, about 40 acres, for commercial development.

Developers hope to attract one or more big-box stores, said Nate Vollmuth, director of development services for Paces Lodging.

Rumors have been circulating that Target is scouting for land in Fargo to set up a Super Target, but Vollmuth declined to discuss what conversations, if any, Paces has had with retailers.

A message left with Target Corp. asking about plans it may have for the Fargo area was not returned.

Nicole Crutchfield, planning administrator for the city of Fargo, said Christianson’s First Addition plans will go before the planning commission on Sept. 3.

City staff members are concerned about the plan because the number of proposed apartments is out of step with the city’s growth plan for that area, which focuses on single-family housing, she said.

Crutchfield also said neighborhoods north of the planned development, such as Fox Run and Timberline, may not like the number of apartments proposed and the increased traffic that could result from the large commercial area envisioned.

Changes possible

Vollmuth said the plan is not carved in stone. He has asked for a meeting with city staff to discuss their concerns.

“We’re continuing to work through the process,” he said, adding that the current design is not expected to be the final design.

Vollmuth said, however, that Paces is strongly advocating for commercial space in the area. “It just makes sense, being it’s one of the major gateways into town.”

Christianson’s First Addition includes a number of high-end housing lots that would provide a buffer between Timberline and the proposed commercial land, he said.

A mix of single-family and multifamily housing would provide a similar buffer between Fox Run and any commercial development, Vollmuth said.

If all goes as hoped, work on the commercial and multifamily aspects of the plan would start this fall, he said.

“Between next spring and summer, we would want to see a lot of activity out there.”

In addition to developing Christianson’s First Addition, Paces is a partner in another project in the area – The Pines at the District – a housing and commercial development just west of the Walmart store on 52nd Avenue at I-29.

Vollmuth said about 95 percent of the housing lots in The Pines have been sold and Paces expects homes will go up soon. Workers are now putting in infrastructure, including streets and water mains.

Vollmuth said a portion of The Pines, mostly along its perimeter, will be devoted to commercial spaces.

He said development in the area is taking off for a number of reasons, including ease of access to 52nd Avenue from the interstate and the 45th Street corridor.

Credit union

Another project going up in the 52nd Avenue area is a new Town and Country Credit Union that will become the credit union’s flagship location in the Fargo area. It will be located at 5181 38th St. S.

There are two other free standing Town and Country Credit Unions in Fargo – one at 815 25th St. S. and the other at 1501 32nd Ave. S. – and there is a small office in Sanford Health in downtown Fargo.

There is also a branch at 925 14th Ave. E. in West Fargo.

Alex Demkiw, vice president of business development for Town and Country in the Fargo area, said a spring opening is anticipated for the new flagship building.

“The problem we have, which is a good problem, is we don’t have enough space for people,” Demkiw said, referring to the reason for the expansion.

“We actually have individuals who don’t have desks. They have to work out of their homes,” he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555