Burgum came to Grand Forks on Tuesday October 5th to hear the progress of various development projects, before setting off on a downtown walking tour to see 11 sites in person. Throughout the presentation, Burgum listened intently to developers and business leaders, while taking notes and asking questions.
During the walking tour, the Governor cut a ribbon to mark the end of a construction project on North Third Street and later participated in the grand opening of The Beacon, a project that will result in a new event center and downtown living space.
Nearly 40 people gathered in the community hall of the Grand Forks Herald building on Tuesday to brief the governor on their plans. Burgum opened the presentations with words of praise for those in attendance.
“Grand Forks truly exemplifies what can happen when communities and community leaders and the private and public sectors come together and work together for the good of all citizens,” said Burgum. “It’s inspiring to be here.
And the clear, warm weather on Tuesday turned out to be a good day to walk. Burgum, Mayor Brandon Bochenski, and several officials walked through downtown Grand Forks on a roundabout route that took them past development projects.
The first was the rapid passage of the Lyons Auto redevelopment site. The project is a multi-storey mixed-use building opposite the Town Hall. From there, the group toured the Mill Square building on North Third Street, which houses the Kittsona clothing store, and a few apartments. Burgum deviated from the plan by entering and speaking with the staff and the store owner, a kind of window shopping excursion.
After leaving the Mill Square building, Bochenski said he was proud of the boom in Grand Forks development, not only in the downtown area, but throughout the city. Many of these projects were in development before he took office, but he looks forward to more.
“I’m just happy that I can build on that, but just in this meeting today and looking at how many projects we have going on, it’s hard not to be excited,” Bochenski said.
Tuesday’s first ceremonial also took place on North Third Street, at the intersection with DeMers Avenue, moments away. Burgum, Bochenski and others cut a blue ribbon to mark the opening of the street, marking the end of a months-long reconstruction project that saw the street widen.
A few yards away stands the St. John’s Block building, now called the Block V project. The building is being converted into apartments, commercial spaces and a plaza by the based Icon Architectural Group. in Grand Forks.
Burgum then stopped by coworking space 701, the site of his 2018 visit, when he discussed his Main Street Initiative program. It then moved on to other sites, including the new Selkirk on Fourth condo development, followed by a stop at the Argyle, which will house the offices of JLG Architects when completed. He then headed to Edgewood Corporate Plaza to visit the still unfinished Cloud 9 event center before moving on to the recently opened Harry’s Steakhouse.
The tour culminated with two of the biggest downtown developments: Pure Development, the new Hugo Market and the Alerus branch with apartments above, and finally The Beacon.
There at the site of the old Townhouse Hotel, Burgum and others threw the ceremonial shovel out of the ground, while construction equipment rumbled several feet away. The Beacon, developed by Epic Companies, will be the future home of a 40,000 square foot outdoor plaza, public parking and event space. As previously reported in the Herald, it will be able to host markets, trade shows, theater performances, movie nights, children’s events, hockey and other sporting events, art exhibitions and more. It is expected to be completed in the fall of 2023.
Developments like The Beacon, Burgum said, are what employers can show people when looking to recruit new workers.
“You’re going to say ‘come on tonight because at The Beacon by Epic (Companies) there is going to be a big event, come over there and see the community that has come together at this event’,” he said. he declares. “And people are going to say, ‘I want to be part of this community. “”