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Drekker Brewing's meeting its 'Skol' goals as steel goes up for $20 million Brewhalla addition

The 100,000-square-foot building should be closed in before the snow flies, giving tradesmen the winter to fit out its hotel, apartments, events center and market.

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Mark Bjornstad, president of Drekker Brewing Co., gestures toward the event center under construction Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, west of the Fargo brewery. The expansion will also include a hotel, apartments and a ground-floor market. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO - Things are hopping at Drekker Brewing Co.

Walls and structural steel are going up on the $20 million expansion of the company’s Brewhalla, so there's plenty to 'Skol' about as the project is meeting its timeline goals, said Mark Bjornstad, co-founder and president of Drekker.

If the schedule holds, Bjornstad said the addition on the west side of 1666 1st Ave. N. - with its hotel, apartments, events center and 22,000-square-foot market - should be ready to open in fall of 2022.

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A 100,000-square-foot expansion to Brewhalla is under construction Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, west of Drekker Brewing Co. in Fargo. The building will include an events center, hotel, apartments, and a 22,000-square-foot market. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

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Once all of the 100,000 square-foot building’s steel is raised, the rest of the concrete walls will follow and the building’s shell should be closed in by October or November, giving tradesmen the winter to do the interior work out of the cold.

“That was a big push for us to get. When we were getting started this spring, we were working on that deadline of getting the building capped, so that we could work really easily all winter long,” Bjornstad said Wednesday, Sept. 15.

“Right now, we’ve been on schedule and everything is going great. It’s looking like we should have the building finished by July or August of next summer,” Bjornstad said. “If we can hit that, that means that we can probably reopen in the fall of ’22.”

Between the building’s completion and opening, Bjornstad said that “we will have a ton of custom artwork to install” and other “just really cool projects” to make the hotel, market and events center stand out.

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Bjornstad said some of the craft beer brewery's fans were confused at first on where the project would be located in relation to the Brewhalla.
Now that walls have gone up, interest has shot up as travelers on the First Avenue corridor can see the project quickly taking shape. Out-of-town beer lovers are also planning their pilgrimages.

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Four stories of steel are going up behind Drekker Brewing Co. as seen Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

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“Now people are starting to get an idea of what we actually were talking about,” Bjornstad said. “They’re loving it. Everyone is excited. We’re getting tons of inquiries (such as), ‘When’s it going to be open?’ And talking about how cool it’s looking.”

Worries about construction debris buried on the site turned out to be founded, as plenty of concrete and steel from what is believed to be old Central High School was unearthed.

But that wasn’t the only part of the past waiting to be dug up.

“There was a little bit more (debris) of old railroad buildings. We knew that there had been a partial roundhouse back there. And we didn’t know what was left. There were significant footings left from that underground and kind of an old wood retaining wall that we found that we excavated,” Bjornstad said.

“It got dealt with in the timeline that we needed. … (Fortunately) We knew that something was down there, so we were ready to deal with it. It was probably on par with what we expected. It was a pretty big pile,” Bjornstad said with a chuckle.

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The signature smokestack will remain at the center of the expanded Drekker Brewing as seen Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

The project, a joint venture between Drekker Brewing and MPA Investments, was first made public in December 2020.

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The addition, part of The Railyard development just west of downtown, will include a 24-room hotel, 18 one- and two-bedroom apartments, an events venue with two halls for weddings and corporate events, and the market to house food vendors and shops.

Bjornstad said that there is space for a few more market partners. He added that Drekker will start announcing its market partners in late September or October.

Related Topics: FARGO
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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