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Dave Olson, Published February 28 2014

New hotels, restaurants and a big-box store; 2014 has them all

FARGO – Flowers won’t be the only thing blooming in the Fargo-Moorhead area this spring and summer.

Commercial development is popping, with hotels, restaurants and other businesses springing up in generous numbers.

A comprehensive listing isn’t possible in this space, but below are some of the highlights:

Dilworth

A big story in Dilworth in 2013 was news that India-based Axis Clinicals planned to set up a clinical trials laboratory in the former Wal-Mart store in town.

Since then, the company has secured job-creation grant funds and other financial incentives from the state of Minnesota, and it has started the process of transforming the old Wal-Mart into a site for clinical trials.

“They (Axis Clinicals) are looking at investing approximately $10 million into this Wal-Mart building to create the environment they need; they’re making a substantial investment,” said Dilworth Mayor Chad Olson.

On the same front, Olson said BNSF Railway is completing a significant project involving a facility on the east edge of town the railroad uses to transfer cars and trucks from railcars to trucks for transport over roads.

“Their intermodal facility is going to be complete in 2014,” Olson said, adding that the recent developments are sparking discussions about what’s next for Dilworth.

“We’re looking at these major elements to be the catalysts for future subsidiary businesses,” Olson said.

Fargo

Projects in the works for Fargo in 2014 include several hotels, said Aaron Nelson, a planner with the city.

Among them: a My Place Hotel planned for the 2500 block of 55th Street South; a Four Points by Sheraton planned for the 5000 block of 23rd Avenue South; and a Clubhouse Hotel & Suites that is going up in the area of 15th Avenue and 44th Street South.

In addition, a restaurant called Porter Creek Hardwood Grill will open this summer adjacent to the Clubhouse Hotel & Suites.

A Chipotle Mexican Grill is also expected to open this summer, though its location has not been officially announced.

A possible spot is the Prairie Stone Center, a shopping center going up near 45th Street and 17th Avenue South.

The center will soon be home to at least five restaurants, said Jim Buus, vice president of Goldmark Schlossman Commercial Real Estate Services Inc., which is handling leasing and marketing for the new center.

Buus said he is not at liberty to disclose the names of the restaurants, but he said all will be new to the Fargo-Moorhead area and all will be quick-serve restaurants.

Buus disclosed that Sprint will move into the Prairie Stone Center from its current location across the street.

An Ashley Furniture store and warehouse are going up in the same general area as the Prairie Stone Center, but that work is separate from the retail center.

Both the furniture store and the warehouse are expected to be completed this year.

Nelson said other projects underway in Fargo, or which plan to start soon, include:

• A new Sanford Health medical center going up in the area of 52nd Street and 23rd Avenue South.

• An expansion of the Bethany Retirement Living facility at 201 S. University Drive.

• A new Eventide Senior Living Communities facility being built at the corner of 32nd Avenue and 51st Street South.

• An expansion project at Essentia Health on 32nd Avenue South

Moorhead

The new Moorhead Sam’s Club is expected to open in early April at 2800 27th Ave. S. near the Moorhead Menards store, said Matt Maslowski, economic development manager for the city.

In addition, a Grizzly’s restaurant will open this spring in the building that was home to a Bennigan’s Grill and Tavern at 3333 Highway 10 E.

Also on the restaurant front, the owners of the Juano’s Mexican restaurant in downtown Fargo recently announced they plan to close their flagship restaurant in Fargo and move it to Moorhead, which is also getting a new hotel.

A 70-room, four-story Microtel Inns & Suites plans to open for business sometime this summer at 2915 12th St. S.

In addition, D&M Industries in Moorhead’s industrial park is building an additional facility just to the south of its current location.

All of the activity bodes well for the city’s future, according to Maslowski, who said growth on the 34th Street South corridor, including the new Sam’s Club and a new Sanford Health clinic, “will trigger many more development projects, and we look forward to seeking those opportunities out.”

West Fargo

Like Fargo and Moorhead, West Fargo will see its share of new hotels in 2014.

A Cambria Suites at 825 Beaton Drive will open soon, as will a conference center taking shape next door.

In the same general area, a Blarney Stone restaurant will open this year, as will an Element by Westin hotel.

Construction is also expected to start this year on an assisted-living and memory care facility in the area of Sixth Street and 32nd Avenue East, said Matt Marshall, West Fargo’s director of economic development.

Marshall also said Petro Serve USA will move its corporate office from its current location in Moorhead to a renovated building at 1772 W. Main in West Fargo, a structure that used to be home to Smokey’s restaurant.

“They (Petro Serve) are taking a severely blighted building in town and the drawings for their new project are gorgeous,” Marshall said.

“You’re seeing not only new development, but you’re seeing lots of interest in redevelopment,” Marshall said, adding that a newly formed Downtown Business Association is working on promoting more redevelopment activity.

Marshall said several restaurants have indicated an interest in West Fargo, though he is not free to talk about them yet.

He said there is also a chance new “primary sector” businesses could be coming to town, but he’s not at liberty to talk about them, either.

Marshall said primary sector businesses are operations that generate income from outside the state, as opposed to a local restaurant that serves a local population.

In addition to large concerns like hotels moving into West Fargo, Marshall said the city is also seeing a lot of small, boutique-type businesses popping up.

“We’re excited to see businesses like that,” he said.

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