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Downtown Moorhead revitalization getting a big boost from another major building project

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This is a conceptual plan for a proposed new multi-use building on the riverfront in downtown Moorhead at the corner of 4th Street and Center Avenue. The building wouldn't necessarily look like this drawing. Courtesy of EPIC Companies.

MOORHEAD — A new $7 million gem in the effort to revitalize downtown Moorhead appears headed for approval.

EPIC Companies of West Fargo is planning a four-story building overlooking the Red River on a relatively small parcel of city-owned land at the corner of 4th Street and Center Avenue near the Moorhead Center Mall.

The 40,000-square-foot, mixed-use building will feature 30 apartments on the top three floors, with commercial space and a possible restaurant on the first floor and underground parking for tenants, according to McKenzy Olson, vice president of marketing and public relations for the company.

The structure will be called Bolig Square, reflecting the city's strong Norwegian ancestry as Bolig means "residence or housing" in that language.

The Moorhead City Council this week give the company temporary access to the land to do soil samples and environmental assessments. Olson said the building must be a specific distance from the flood plain as well as the nearby BNSF Railway bridge.

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EPIC is the same developer that built the cornerstone mixed-use building Block E on 8th Street and Main Avenue in downtown Moorhead and is revitalizing Sheyenne Street in downtown West Fargo as well as downtown Detroit Lakes with two major multi-use structures in each of those cities.

Before this new project can move ahead, the company must purchase the land from the city, which bought the property from BNSF almost 40 years ago, although the title was never transferred to the city. City Manager Chris Volkers said she expects the transfer to happen quickly. The land sale to EPIC is planned for approval at the March 25 council meeting. The price hasn't been revealed yet.

EPIC is also seeking a Renaissance Zone property tax break, with that request going before the city's Economic Development Authority on Monday, March 4.

Downtown Moorhead Inc. President Derrick LaPoint said the project is a "big deal" because it will be along the riverfront and near one of the gateways to the city.

"We have a lot of momentum and energy going," he said about the effort to revitalize downtown Moorhead. "However, we have a long ways to go."

Moorhead residents have told city leaders that revitalizing downtown is one of their top priorities.

The downtown building boom received a big boost this past year when EPIC's Block E building opened at one of the city's major intersections, with Eventide Senior Living corporate headquarters, Edward Jones and Nutrition Hub as the current tenants, along with 12 apartment units that are all rented out, Olson said. In the coming months, Olson said Choice Bank will open in the building in March with Usher's House restaurant following in April.

Olson said the company is also looking at other projects in Moorhead.

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Bolig Square.jpg
This is the site of the proposed new Bolig Square mixed-used building along the Red River in Moorhead. The current parking lot is just southwest of the Moorhead Center Mall in the background. Barry Amundson / The Forum

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