WEST FARGO -- Construction of West Fargo’s first city-owned parking ramp will begin this year.
The City Commission approved the parking ramp plan as it finalized a tax increment finance district in December that will aid the development of a residential and retail development, labeled The Lights at Sheyenne 32, on the southern end of Sheyenne Street.
When the school district bought 13 acres of land on the corner of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue South to build what is now the West Fargo Sports Arena, school officials joined forces with city staff and developers to create a master plan for that area that would include room for businesses and restaurants in one of the few commercial spots left in West Fargo.
Todd Berning and his associates, who headed the Sheyenne Plaza and Pioneer Place projects on the north end of Sheyenne Street, brought forward a plan to build a multi-building plaza that would be home to retail and restaurants, residential space, an open-air public pavilion and a large parking ramp on the northwest corner of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue.
The first phase of the project, which carries a roughly $54 million price tag and is under construction on about 6.3 acres, would include at least three mixed-use buildings, a parking ramp and an outdoor space where public events could be held.
One five-story building, which will be a mix of residential and retail mix on the east side of the land, is currently under construction.
The parking structure will be partially owned by the city of West Fargo, but the developer will be responsible for daily maintenance and operations. If the structure would need major repair, the city could levy a special assessment on the development.
The parking ramp is designed to be four levels, with enough room for about 100 spaces on each floor, Economic Development Director Matt Marshall said at a December City Commission meeting.
“The reason for the ramp is in order to get all of this done in a small space, we need to explore nontraditional means (for parking),” Marshall said. “I call it nontraditional because in West Fargo we mostly have one-level parking.”
Berning said construction of the first five-story building is on time.
“That's tracking just fine,” Berning said.
On the south side, a six-story building, which will primarily house a bank branch, will be ready by next year.
Berning said two of the buildings will be open by fall 2019, and the parking ramp will be constructed and open by 2020.
Berning plans to dedicate about $1.5 million to the public plaza planned for the area. The plaza may host public events such as North Dakota State University sports viewing parties, or it may be home to an outdoor skating rink.
Marshall said once both phases are complete, the development will add more than $88 million of private investment, 130,000 square feet of commercial space and 250 living units to the city of West Fargo.