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Helmut Schmidt, Published March 20 2014

New Hornbacher's planned in major south Moorhead commercial development

MOORHEAD – Hornbacher’s Foods will anchor a major new retail and commercial development in south Moorhead with construction of a 61,000-square-foot store on land at Eighth Street and 40th Avenue South.

It will be Hornbacher’s seventh store in the area and its second-largest, President Matt Leiseth said Thursday at a news conference at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Construction of the store on the southeast part of the Azool Shopping Center property will start this spring. The store should open in early 2015, Leiseth said.

The Hornbacher’s will sit next to a 50,000-square-foot strip mall being built by PACES Lodging Corp/Property Resources Group.

Construction on the mall on the north side of the Hornbacher’s store makes up the project’s first phase. Work will begin this summer. It should be finished about the same time as the grocery store, PACES owner Kevin Christianson said.

There are several other “pad” spaces on the site that can be filled with other businesses in follow-up phases, Christianson said.

“We’ve been working on this project for nine years,” Christianson said.

He said the project came together in the past few days with the decision by Hornbacher’s to move ahead with its next store.

The development will be similar to the Shoppes at Osgood in southwest Fargo, Leiseth said. Hornbacher’s is the anchor store for that center.

The Shoppes at Osgood was also developed by PACES Lodging.

The Azool mall should attract a mix of 13 to 14 businesses and restaurants, Christianson said.

“This is pretty exciting. It’s a great time to be mayor of Moorhead,” Mayor Del Rae Williams said. “It’s exciting to be part of Moorhead right now.”

Leiseth said the downtown Moorhead Hornbacher’s will remain open and that the new store will fill a need in the growing Moorhead market.

The new store will have a pharmacy, bank and coffee shop, he said.

Leiseth and Christianson would not say how much money they are investing in their ventures.

Matt Maslowski, Moorhead economic development director, said the projects will be eligible for city property tax exemptions. The value of those exemptions will depend on the amount of money being invested in each project, he said.

A minimum of $150,000 invested can obtain a two-year property tax exemption, with approval by the City Council, Maslowski said.

A project worth $5 million to $5.99 million is eligible for a nine-year property tax exemption, he said.

Maslowski said no site plans have been filed with the city.

First International Bank and Trust of Fargo owns a couple of parcels on the property.

Peter Stenehjem, First International’s chief retail banking officer, said Thursday that the bank intends to someday build a branch office at the center, but that construction may not occur for a few years.

The 20-acre property now sits empty.

Condominiums and apartments flank the site on the north and south sides, and homes have been built to the east.

The site is a few blocks northwest of S.G. Reinertson Elementary School.

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