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Apartments to be built: South shore land to be bought for $350,000

BEMIDJI —A new apartment building is slated for the city’s south shore.

A Grand Forks, N.D., developer will pay the city of Bemidji about $350,000 for a piece of land near the Sanford Center, contingent on the signing of a negotiated purchase and development agreements.

Representatives of Northridge Hospitality Management came before the Bemidji Economic Development Authority on Monday night with their proposal.

They anticipate constructing a four-story building with 50 to 60 units, mixing efficiency, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units. They also plan on underground parking.

A final design has not yet been presented.

Jon Miskavige, president of Northridge, said the apartment will appeal to young professionals and families.

“It’s going to compliment what’s already here,” Ryan Carlson, vice president of operations for Northridge, said.

The developers offered about $3 per square foot, which turns out to be about $350,000 for the 2.67 acres of land located on the west side of the Sanford Center parking lot. City councilors, acting as the BEDA, discussed the offer behind closed doors before accepting.

Miskavige said they originally considered building a hotel in Bemidji. But with the Country Inn & Suites already being proposed for the south shore, they reconsidered.

He said the Sanford Center is a “major catalyst” for development in Bemidji.

“We took a liking to the area,” Miskavige said.

Bonding for Carnegie

The City Council signaled its support for seeking state bonding money for restoring and moving the historic Carnegie Library building.

Councilors approved on a 6-1 vote to apply for $800,000 from the state for the project. The additional $800,000 volunteer fundraisers expect to need for the building will be raised from donations and grants, $500,000 of which they already have in pocket.

The Save the Carnegie Committee will not seek more money from the council, said committee member Cathy Marchand. The council has already dedicated $100,000 for the project.

Several councilors said the building is important to Bemidji and its history.

“I think that building is more than just bricks,” Ward 5 Councilor Nancy Erickson said.

Ward 2 Councilor Roger Hellquist was the only dissenting vote. He cited other community needs, such as a detox center, that aren’t being considered for bonding money.  

“There are definitely some needs in the community,” Ward 1 Councilor Michael Meehlhause said. “Right now though, you look around and this is a project that the community has really rallied behind.”

Fundraisers have been seeking money to restore the building, which is more than 100 years old, and move it away from State Highway 197.

Hotel agreement

Councilors unanimously agreed Monday to amend the terms of a revolving loan fund request for a hotel development attached to the Sanford Center.

The council agreed to the terms of a $400,000 gap financing loan last year.

Those funds would be for construction of the walkway between the Country Inn & Suites and the Sanford Center, which the developers would not own.

The council amended the terms Monday to remove Kraus-Anderson and the PRS Family Trust as guarantors of the loan.

Tiffany Fettig, business loan consultant for the Headwaters Regional Development Commission, said those terms weren’t set in stone when the council first agreed to the loan.  

There is still a corporate guarantee from the development firm Bay Ridge Properties International and personal guarantees from the developers themselves.  

Fettig said “all indications are” the developers of the Country Inn & Suites will meet a July 15 deadline to line up their finances for the project.

John Hageman

John Hageman covers North Dakota politics from the Forum News Service bureau in Bismarck. He attended the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, where he studied journalism and political science, and he previously worked at the Grand Forks Herald and Bemidji Pioneer.  

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