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Wendy Reuer, Published January 21 2014

West Fargo OKs tax exemption for software company that expects to bring hundreds of jobs

WEST FARGO – A software company plans to bring hundreds of jobs here when it opens a new headquarters along 26th Avenue and Seventh Street East.

Evolution 1 creates cloud-based software for companies such as Discovery Benefits and U.S. Bank. It also markets software in the health care industry, such as support services for deductible health plans and health savings accounts.

The company first set up shop in West Fargo five years ago with two staff members. It now employs 120 full-time workers and has offices in two Fargo locations.

In a letter to the city, Evolution 1 Vice President of Administration Lloyd Nelson said the new location will serve as the company’s worldwide headquarters.

On Monday, the City Commission approved the company’s application for a five-year property tax exemption on a new 40,000-square-foot expansion, which Evolution 1 estimates will cost $7 million to $8 million to build.

The project will employ about 150 construction workers during the one-year project. Tim Solberg, senior planner for the city, said Monday that when the building opens about 150 to 200 workers will be employed there, a number expected to grow to 300 within five years.

Nelson said the building site will allow for future growth. He said an addition of up to 16,000 square feet with room for up to 500 employees would be available.

“Moreover, the site is large enough that if our growth continues over the course of the next 10 years, we would have the ability to erect a second building on the same campus setting,” Nelson wrote to the city.

Evolution 1 says the company offers salaries between $30,000 per year for entry-level positions to $100,000 for a seasoned software developer.

Nelson wrote in the letter that the company plans to move into the new building by spring 2015.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530