Downtown Fargo Taco Bell closesTaco Bell on First Avenue North in Fargo has closed.
By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM
Taco Bell on First Avenue North in Fargo has closed.
The restaurant, 1001 1st Ave. N., was located in an area that has piqued the interest of developers.
David Dunafon, who owns the property and 25 Taco Bell restaurants, said he doesn’t know if the site will be developed into something else.
Dunafon, of Columbia, Mo., said the 20-year franchise ran out on the restaurant and he decided not to continue operating in that location.
It was not a difficult decision, he said.
“I don’t have difficult decisions,” Dunafon said. “I am a decision-maker, period.”
The restaurant’s last day was Tuesday. Employees have been offered jobs at other Fargo Taco Bell locations, Dunafon said.
In a story The Forum reported in July, John Serati of Fargo, who owns several Taco Bell restaurants with Dunafon, said he had received multiple inquiries from developers about the First Avenue property.
The interest is spurred by North Dakota State University’s expansion into downtown, said Rick Graalum, president of Pierce Printing, a neighbor to the First Avenue North Taco Bell. Pierce Printing has had about four groups of investors take a look at its property, Graalum said.
“At the moment, it’s just contact and that’s about it,” Graalum said, adding that there have been no professional proposals or anything the company would consider serious. “We have had numerous people checking in and showing an interest in our location.”
Serati previously said developers expressed interest in different ideas, including turning the site into a mixed-use project with retail on the ground floor and apartments above.
Dunafon said that had nothing to do with Taco Bell’s closing.
“We did not decide to close the restaurant because somebody was inquiring about the site,” Dunafon said. “It was strictly a business decision related to Taco Bell.”
Dunafon said he will most likely sell the site.
Bob Stein, a senior planner with the city of Fargo, said he has not received development plans for the location.
Graalum said it will be interesting to see what happens downtown, but for now Pierce is focusing on maintaining a successful company.
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Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526