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Dan Sampson, Published April 05 2014

Letter: A few facts about Black Building

Since The Forum and Grand Forks Herald have written about the Black Building several times while not knowing all the facts, I will address them.

Elevators: The city did not “force us to fix them.” We knew they were a problem and were already getting several bids to fix them. The lowest bid was more than $300,000. It takes a while to receive the bids, have them order in parts and fix them. A large expensive job like that does not happen overnight. We had the money to fix the elevators and gave the money to the winning bid before they did any work. There was no delay on our part. We also kept the back (third) elevator running for customers during the downtime.

Makeup air for boilers: We were running one boiler; the other one is a backup boiler and will not be run at the same time. We are also installing more makeup air to comply with what the city wants. We have always had working carbon monoxide detectors as a safety precaution to ensure there are no problems.

Hot water problems: The water heater has been fixed. Of note, several of the renters who were supposedly complaining have been, and still are, past due on their rent. We have even taken one to court.

Amateur, incorrect installation for the basement water heater: A licensed plumbing and electrical company installed it. They have agreed to fix it.

Illegal plumbing: This was done by the tenant without our knowledge. We have told them to remove it.

The Black Building is 84 years old and more than 100,000 square feet. Maintenance problems will occasionally occur. We have owned it for 20 years and are more than willing to spend the money. Within the past year, we have spent almost $500,000.

We have hired licensed contractors that we believe are competent. Sometimes the work does not always get done as quickly as planned, and sometimes they make mistakes that need to be corrected. We always have and will always care about our tenants’ safety and success.


Sampson, Grand Forks, is with DTL Properties, which owns Fargo’s Black Building.