A bitterly contested condo development at the former Arbor Park site in downtown Grand Forks is already filling up.
Dakota Commercial, which is developing the property, has presold 50 percent of the residential units at the property, CEO Kevin Ritterman said last week.
“Presold” means a resident has put money on a contract, Ritterman said.
The $8 million property, which has been dubbed “Selkirk on 4th,” will have about 18 residential units in total. The first and second floors of the building will host retail and office space.
The property’s new name is a nod to Alexander Griggs, the so-called “Father of Grand Forks” who operated the Selkirk steamboat along the Red River in the late 19th century.
The building’s top three floors will be reserved for condos, all of which will cost in the six figures, according to a document released by Dakota Commercial in fall. The remaining available units range from $264,315 to almost $450,000.
The building is slated to be completed in fall 2019, Ritterman said. By next year’s end, residents should be able to start moving in, he added. Crews have completed the building’s below-grade parking and have begun working on the second level.
“Steel is going up on the second level,” Ritterman said.
The developer hasn’t yet sold the commercial space, though it has received inquiries. Ritterman declined to name which companies have expressed interest in the space.
The company now is focusing on mitigating any construction impacts to local businesses, according to Ritterman.
“Safety is our concern,” he said. “Things are going as smooth as possible. We’re trying to keep the road and businesses there open.”
But businesses along Fourth Street say the construction work has been a headache.
“It’s hurt me, but I expected it to,” said Adam Kemp, who operates the You Are Here art studio on Fourth. “There’s no way to do this without some inconvenience.”
To accommodate construction, the road has been closed since fall, and its reopening remains uncertain. Businesses have been informed the street would open over Christmas and New Years, but Kemp said he wasn’t sure whether that would actually happen.
Kemp’s next door neighbor, Mary Weaver, said she’s dealt with some negative impacts, too. The owner of the Browning Arts framing shop, Weaver said she’s lost money due to decreased business during construction. She also said there’s been a disconnect between the city, the contractor and local businesses throughout the project.
The construction project may foreshadow other redevelopment plans throughout downtown Grand Forks, according to Kemp.
“The whole downtown neighborhood needs to look at what’s happening on Fourth Street and regard it as a dress rehearsal for when other projects start up,” he said, pointing to a state plan to rehabilitate a significant portion of DeMers Avenue. “We need a mitigation plan for all existing businesses and an information program for the residents.”
The new development survived a legal challenge that went all the way to the North Dakota Supreme Court earlier this year.
Since then, Dakota Commercial hasn’t had any other legal issues with the development, Ritterman said.