Check out the top construction projects, businesses to look forward to in 2021

The new Amazon Fulfillment Center, downtown Fargo projects top the list.

The ice skating rink on the Broadway Square Plaza next to Block 9 will soon be ready for patrons for the holiday season. David Samson / The Forum
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FARGO — Despite the strains the COVID-19 pandemic posed to construction projects, the Fargo-Moorhead area still has plenty to look forward in the way of new construction and business openings.

Read on for the top construction projects and new businesses to keep an eye on in 2021, as ranked by The Forum's business staff.

Amazon Fulfillment Center

The city of Fargo confirmed Friday, Oct. 30, that Amazon, the online retail behemoth with a market valuation of more than $1.6 trillion, will be opening a 1.3-million-square-foot facility in north Fargo.

The city's confirmation came after weeks of speculation after a building permit was issued to Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies for the mysteriously-dubbed "Project Force."

Once completed in 2021, the Amazon facility is expected to bring north of 500 full-time jobs to the region.


Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said the project cost could ultimately range from $100 million to $120 million . The facility will be almost three-times larger than the Fargodome.

Amazon Dec. 2020.JPEG
Walls are going up on the massive Amazon Fulfillment Center north of Hector International Airport in Fargo. Crews will be working throughout the winter with construction expected to be completed by next summer. Submitted photo by the City of Fargo

Block 9

After breaking ground in September 2018, downtown Fargo's long-anticipated mid-rise tower will open its doors in 2021 .

Block 9, which will hold offices for notable tenants such as R.D. Offutt and Dot's Pretzels, will also include the Jasper Hotel and its accompanying Nordic-themed Rosewild restaurant. Condos and other restaurants will round out the remainder of the 18-story building.

In Block 9's shadow, the Broadway Square Plaza has begun to welcome skaters and a parking garage has opened as well.

At 235 feet, Block 9 is the second tallest building in North Dakota, seven feet shorter than Capitol in Bismarck. It will be the most noteworthy addition to the Fargo-Moorhead area's skyline in decades.

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Mercantile Building

Just a stone's throw north of Block 9, another Kilbourne Group project is also expected to be completed in 2021.

The five-story, mixed-use building is a public-private partnership between the Kilbourne Group and the city of Fargo . The city will lease first floor space to serve as a Fargo Police Department substation, while the Kilbourne Group will offer 100 apartment units for rent and nearly 17,000-square-feet of first floor retail space.

The city owns and operates the attached parking garage, which has already opened . Tom and Kari Smith, owners of Great Northern Bicycle Company, are also involved in the project. The Smiths are constructing the Great Northern Block , a development of nine two- or three-bedroom condominiums.

At the corner of Broadway and Fourth Avenue North, the Mercantile was originally billed to cost $20 million, while the estimated cost of the six-level parking garage ranged between $12 million and $13 million.

Construction continues on the Mercantile building on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 405 Broadway N. in Fargo. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum


Moorhead will have a new mixed-use building of its own when EPIC Companies' Vanné is completed in June.

The first floor will offer commercial space while the second through fifth floors will contain roughly 33 residential units. Brian Kounovsky of Vanné Moorhead and EPIC Holdings said the apartments will be constructed with affordability in mind. The rent for a one bedroom unit is expected to be $700, while a two-bedroom, two-story unit will rent for $1,300.


The project, under construction at 1530 1st Ave. N., was initially expected to cost $9 million. The Moorhead City Council approved a Renaissance Zone property tax exemption for the building in February . The estimated tax break is $900,000 over 15 years.

Construction continues on the Vanné building on Thursday, Dec. 31, located at 1530 1st Ave. N. in Moorhead. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

Suite Shots

South Fargo will soon be home to a Topgolf-esque entertainment option for even the most casual of golfers.

Suite Shots will be Fargo's first "golf entertainment facility," Tyler Brandt, a local developer and one of the partners explained . Patrons will be able to hit golf balls from indoor suites into an outdoor range all the while taking advantage of Toptracer ball-tracking technology. Toptracer, a subsidiary product of Topgolf, is the same technology used on broadcasts of PGA Tour events. Unlike Topgolf, which uses low-compression balls, Suite Shots will use real golf balls.

"It'll be for everybody," Brandt told The Forum. "It will be a major entertainment facility in our town, like going to a movie or going bowling. It is another entertainment option."

Work continues at the Suite Shots golf facility at 52 Ave. S. and I-29 in Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

701 Restaurant

Brew Restaurants, the company behind Brew Bird, will be bringing another one of its dining options to downtown Fargo in 2021.

Located at 701 N. University Drive, 701 Restaurant is approaching completion. A soft opening is planned for February with a full opening scheduled for March, co-owner Shelby Terstriep said in December .

The main level, called Prairie Kitchen, will source much of its food from local farmers and ranchers. The second level Camp Lonetree is named in a nod to Terstriep's father's hunting camp, while a rooftop patio will have a firepit and games.

"All the furnishings will feel like you're in a cabin. It's a real casual affair," Terstriep said.

Construction continues at the 701 restaurant located at 7th Ave. N. and N. University Drive in north Fargo. David Samson / The Forum

Mas Tequila

A bar dedicated to all things tequila is slated to open in June near the intersection of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue West in West Fargo.

Co-owner Juan Perez told The Forum that the plan is to offer every variety of tequila available in the United States. "We're going to have the greatest selection of tequila in the states," Perez promised.

Mas Tequila will also offer seven styles of tacos, some burritos, chicken wings and nachos and be family-friendly until 9 p.m. After 9 p.m., Mas Tequila will transition into a bar.

"You're going to feel like you're in Mexico, that's going to be the atmosphere," Perez added.

If all goes well, Perez and his partners Alberto Arellano and Ruben Leon have eyes on bringing another Mas Tequila to Sioux Falls, S.D.

Chase Bank(s)

The largest banking firm in the United States will soon have a physical presence in North Dakota.

JPMorgan Chase is set to open a pair of Chase Bank locations in Fargo in the coming year.

The first, which was announced in October , will take the place of the former Pier 1 Imports at 4330 13th Ave. S. and is expected to open in the second quarter of the year. The building permit issued for the project indicated a cost of $2.2 million.

A second location was announced in late December at 122 Broadway, the former site of King House Buffet in downtown Fargo. The downtown branch is slated to open in September at a renovation cost of $800,000.

A sign announcing a new Chase Bank branch is seen on Thursday, Dec. 31, at 4330 13th Ave. S. in Fargo. Alyssa Goelzer / The Forum

627 and 631 NP Ave. renovations

Architect Rhet Fiskness of Rhet Architecture is overseeing a $2.8 million project to renovate a pair of downtown Fargo buildings.

The renovations of 627 and 631 NP Ave. will include space for a first-floor restaurant, garden-level parking and commercial office spaces, 10 second-floor apartments and four third-floor condos.

Fiskness told The Forum in November that the building will include "fun (and) whimsical features" such as a fireman's pole in the two-story office atrium and a 30-foot Wrigley's Chewing Gum mural which demolition crews uncovered. The mural dates back to the 1920s.

Fiskness expected a one-year timeline for completion of the project, targeting winter for its completion.

Renderings show the interior of the 2,033-sqaure-foot condo planned for the third floor of the 627 and 631 NP Ave. renovation. The unit will include two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a see-through gas fireplace and two balconies facing the street. Rhet Architecture / Special to The Forum


After years of requests, the West Acres Shopping Center will welcome Athleta, a women's athleisure brand, to the mall this coming winter.

"We cannot wait for those in our region to shop this brand in-person at West Acres in the coming months," West Acres chief operating officer Alissa Adams said when the store's arrival was first announced in October .

Despite the recent closings of Gap and Gap Kids in West Acres, Athleta is still on track to become North Dakota's first store for the Gap-owned brand.

Other projects coming in 2021

McAlister's Deli

Building permits were approved in August for the construction of a McAlister’s Deli at 5600 28th Ave. S.

"I saw the brand and I thought it was a great fit," local proprietor Steven Majkrzak said at the time. "I think the North Dakota market is going to take to this concept really well. It's got the right kind of food. The right presentation. ... Everything about it should fit really well with the people around here."

Majkrzak's original plan was for McAlister's to open in the spring.

New Wimmer's Diamonds

Wimmer's Diamonds is planning to open its third Fargo store at the intersection of 45th Street South and 32nd Avenue South.

In October, co-owner Brad Wimmer told The Forum it remains to be seen if Wimmer's will continue to operate in its other two Fargo locations, at 602 Main. Ave. and inside West Acres.

Third Custom Express Car Wash

A third Custom Express Car Wash is in the works for the former location of Altony's in Moorhead’s EasTen Shopping Center . It'll be owner Jason Gehrig's third Custom Express Car Wash, following two Fargo locations which opened in 2018 and 2020.

Gateway by EPIC

A $12 million mixed-use building is in the works on the Red River in Fargo. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed in 2021, EPIC Companies spokeswoman McKenzy Olson confirmed to The Forum. The project initially called for 51 residential units in the 13,000-square-foot building .

The Fargo Housing Authority operates the Lashkowitz High Rise directly south of the project, while the city owns a lot immediately to the east.

Thomas Evanella is a reporter for The Forum. He's worked for The Forum for over two years, primarily reporting on business news. Reach him at or by calling 701-353-8363. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasEvanella.
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