Downtown Moorhead Development to transform Center Mall area, revitalize city center over next five years

Downtown Moorhead Development to transform Center Mall area, revitalize city center over next five years

MOORHEAD – Redevelopment plans for the 16-acre site mostly occupied by Center Mall and parking lots call for turning it into nine city blocks of apartments, townhomes and condos, shops and restaurants and parking.

The Downtown Moorhead Development was announced Thursday, Aug. 11, at the Hjemkomst center by development partners Roers, JLG Architects, Stantec, Downtown Moorhead Inc., and the city of Moorhead.

As envisioned, the development plan created by Roers would revitalize the downtown area by creating more than 1,200 living spaces, more than 100 retail and dining spots and 2,000 parking spaces over the next five years.

Demolition and construction on the east side of the property (mostly parking lot) and west sides of the mall (the old Herberger’s store and attached parking ramp) could start as soon as fall 2023, said Jim Roers, president of Fargo-based development firm Roers.

Roers said that initial talks with the area’s biggest developers have gotten a positive response, with some already pointing to areas they are interested in developing.

The plan would revitalize downtown, and the investment could increase the property value of the site from $20 million into $200-250 million when completed, City Manager Dan Mahli said.

“This is a super exciting time for Moorhead,” Mahli said. “I think a lot of people are expecting and wanting what we’re talking about here. Moorhead is just very strong right now and ready.”

Phase I of the project would involve demolition and construction on the east side of the mall. Phase II would add new buildings to the south side of the mall. For now, the central part of the mall will stay and tenants can do business there until later phases in the development of the property, Roers said.

Center Mall tenants were told of the vision for the property earlier this week, Roers spokeswoman Heidi Knutson said.

Roers now owns nearly 90% of the mall, which was created as a condominium enterprise, with businesses owning their own spaces. The city owns the City Hall building, 500 Center Ave., which will remain in the development as planned. The city also owns the halls, bathrooms, parking lots and parking ramp of the mall.

“This is our time to be bold,” Mayor Shelly Carlson said. “This project has been in the works quite a while.”

Center Mall was opened in 1973, she said.

“It’s kind of time … for a huge kind of complete redo and restart. It’s really Moorhead’s time to really shine,” Carlson said.

Redevelopment could get a tremendous catalyst if voters approve a half cent sales tax to create a new community center and regional library that could be located on the site, she continued.

“That’s really going to jump-start this whole project,” Carlson said.

Center Mall was “pretty cool and innovative” when it first opened, “but it’s time has come to be turned over to something different and something new,” Carlson said.

She said it has not yet been determined if the city offices will remain in the current building over the long term.