As part of the vision for downtown Grand Forks, which began following the Red River flood of 1997, Grand Forks leaders and downtown advocates identified residential development and key services such as a grocery store to be essential components of downtown redevelopment. One area of focus was a city block that had been underutilized since a 1960s urban renewal project.
In 1939, Hugo and Dorothy Magnuson opened Pure Foods in downtown Grand Forks. Hugo’s Family Marketplace, now a third-generation family business with several stores, partnered with developers in their vision for a grocery that would serve downtown neighborhoods while providing additional dining options. Hugo’s Pure Market opened in 2022 on the site of Hugo’s original Pure Foods Store. In addition to the grocery store, the project houses Hugo’s Wine and Spirits and Alerus bank. Of the 68 dwelling units, half are market rate, and half are offered at reduced rates to eligible households with support from North Dakota’s Housing Incentive Fund. The City of Grand Forks, working with the county and school district, provided 80% tax increment financing to help fund the project.
In addition to reinvigorating an underdeveloped site and building upon recent downtown growth, Pure North has provided new housing options and access to essential goods and services to serve both downtown residents and the surrounding neighborhoods. The project’s location and amenities have attracted a diverse set of residents – in age, background, and income. People with physical disabilities have found the project especially appealing, with accessible units the first to be fully occupied.