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Springing up: Construction projects underway across town for businesses, new and old

A new Cenex store is under construction at the northwest corner of Irine Avenue and Anne Street in Bemidji. It is expected to be completed at the end of August. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer) 1 / 2
A former bowling alley is demolished on April 20 at 2317 Bemidji Ave. N. in Bemidji. A seven patient room medical center offering urgent care, basic wellness and prevention services will open in the location. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer) 2 / 2

BEMIDJI—It's a busy time for developers and business owners in Bemidji lately, with multiple projects either under construction or nearing completion around town.

One of the latest examples is a new 6,086 square-foot Cenex store that also will incorporate an A&W restaurant. Under construction at the northwest corner of Irvine Avenue Northwest and Anne Street, the convenience store will be the most recent from the Bemidji Cooperative Association, which already operates two others in town.

"We had been looking at that corner for quite some time, so we did a study and got traffic counts and population information from there," said Galen Teichert, general manager and CEO of the co-op. "We ran the numbers and found that it would be a very feasible site to have a convenience store."

Along with installing five gas pumps for the convenience store side, Teichert said they have also been in communication with A&W for the past five months for the restaurant portion; plans are also in place to include a carwash.

Along with the two other Cenex stations at 120 Convenience Lane and 320 Third St. NW, the association operates the Bemidji Co-op Propane Plant at 1339 Adams Ave. With the latest development, Teichert said the co-op is looking forward to helping the community grow.

Other projects

Closer toward the middle of the city, meanwhile, construction is underway at 2317 Bemidji Ave. N. for a MedExpress Urgent Care center. Located at the site of a former bowling alley, the business will offer medical services ranging from urgent care to basic wellness and prevention as well as employer health needs.

A former bowling alley is demolished on April 20 at 2317 Bemidji Ave. N. in Bemidji.

The MedExpress company is nationwide and at the regional level opened two other Minnesota locations, both in Minneapolis, last fall according to a press release. Casey Mai, the Greater Bemidji Area Planning Director, said the building will be 4,733 square-feet and will include seven patient rooms.

A third development, taking place near the downtown sector of Bemidji, is a Tim Hortons Cafe and Bake Shop. According to Bemidji Building Official Mike Miller, architectural documents were submitted to the city to have a Tim Hortons restaurant move into the building at 100 Paul Bunyan Drive S.

The site was previously Hurricane Grill and Wings, opening in August 2014 and closing last September. Before Hurricane, the location was a Burger King. Tim Hortons is a coffee restaurant chain started by NHL player Tim Horton in 1964 in Hamilton Ont., in Canada. As of 2015, there are more than 4,700 restaurants. Regionally, Tim Hortons has locations in Brainerd, Grand Forks, Fargo and Minneapolis.

In addition to those three, other developments around the city include:

• Canine Divine, relocating from 118 Third St. NW to 102 Lake Ave. NE.

• Jason "Fozzie" Schmitt, who started his BBQ company by way of a food truck, has opened Fozzies restaurant at 114 Third St. NW.

• Stittsworth Meats is planning a $1.86 million expansion project that includes both a mobile slaughter unit and a new manufacturing plant. The mobile unit will allow animal harvesting on the farm allowing for more local products. The new plant, meanwhile, will likely be built in Bemidji's Industrial Park.

• Along Lake Bemidji, a four story housing complex able to support between 70 and 78 units is under construction. Work on South Beach Apartments began last November, with the footprint located between the Nymore Boat Access and South Shore Park. Once finished, the apartment will mostly include two- and three-bedroom units.

Matthew Liedke

Matthew Liedke is the city, county and state government reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer. He also covers business, politics and financial news.

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