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Bemidji Regional Event Center: Workers bracing for very busy fall

As construction continues on the Bemidji Regional Event Center, workers are bracing for a very busy fall.

The two large "super" trusses, each 267 feet long and 270 tons, are expected to arrive in the first part of September. They will run along the longer north and south walls of the building.

"That's going to be a big day when these things go up," said Clinton Gronhovd of Kraus-Anderson, the project manager.

"That's a huge milestone," agreed Greg Judge, the project superintendent.

The entire building cannot be closed up until after those trusses are installed. With their arrival expected in early September, that could make for a frantic fall.

"Those last two months are going to be interesting," Gronhovd said.

Gronhovd, Judge and Bemidji City Manager John Chattin hosted the second in a series of monthly meetings at City Hall on the BREC construction. A small group, six in total, including the three speakers, attended the 30-minute update session.

Work now is centering on concrete in center and southern portions of the building.

The steel that has been put in place has been located at the southeast portion of the facility.

The utility work for the entire south shore redevelopment has mostly been set.

Chattin said one the changes made recently was the increase in size for the sewer lines. Originally planned to be 10 inches, they have been increased to 15 inches.

City staff considered that if sewer is offered along the east side of Lake Bemidji, the city would need to have pipes large enough to handle the increase en route to the Wastewater Treatment Plant.

"We'll save a lot of money down the road if we get sewer on the east side," Chattin said.

Developers' interest

The interest in developers for land included in the south shore area is strong, Chattin said.

The city already has accepted an offer from the Edgewater Group to buy 2.14 acres of land on the south shore immediately east of the Hampton Inn & Suites. A public hearing on the potential land sale is set for Monday.

Additionally, the Bemidji Economic Development Authority, composed of city councilors, will meet in closed session to discuss another possible land sale, Chattin said.

"I have an offer sitting on my desk," he said.

Developers, Chattin explained, have an opportunity in the current economy to build at lesser costs than usual.

He also mentioned a third developer who is interested in some land.

Drew Olson, a principal in Scottsdale, Ariz.-based MoDev real estate development, recently released his plans for a $10 million complex of luxury beach condos and retail space to be built on Little Detroit Lake in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

"He's told us that he will have a proposal to us one of these days," Chattin said.