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Moorhead's Fairmont Creamery to be sold, remodeled into apartments

Developer Kevin Bartram's company plans to buy the building from Eventide, which offered assisted living in the complex.

Fairmont Creamery David Samson / The Forum
The Eventide Fairmont senior living facility plans to close after a pipe leak caused water damage to the building. David Samson / The Forum
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MOORHEAD — The historic 1923 Fairmont Creamery on the north side of downtown Moorhead will soon have a new owner.

Fargo architect and developer Kevin Bartram told the Moorhead Planning Commission this week that he plans to remodel the creamery building, tear down the 1987 addition and rebuild it to offer a total of 99 multi-family housing units.

He said the purchase from Eventide Senior Living Communities, which moved its assisted living tenants to other facilities after over 25 years in the historic building, is expected to be completed this fall.

Bartram didn't release a purchase price or have an estimate yet on how much the new complex would cost.

In 1994, Eventide purchased the housing complex which previously was the Fairmont Creamery Co. that opened in 1924 and closed in 1980. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The addition to the older building was constructed in 1987.

Bartram, who developed several other historic buildings in downtown Moorhead in recent years , said a wing in the newer addition didn't have kitchens, so they determined it would be more cost effective to tear it down. He said they also want to add enclosed parking on the first floor of the new addition for residents in the complex.

Eventide announced in July that it was closing its operation there, which was in its long-term plan. However, they accelerated the decision when a pipe leak this year caused major damage in the building at 801 Second Ave. N.

In an application for a zoning change, which was unanimously approved by the planning commissioners and is now headed to the City Council for final approval, Bartram stated he is planning 36 two- and three-bedroom apartments in the historic building and 63 one- and two-bedroom units in the new addition.

Planning Commissioner Steve Moore said he thought the project would be a "great addition to downtown" as the city has been working on boosting the housing units available downtown to provide a more compact, walkable, mixed-use environment with several other major projects in the works or being studied.

Bartram told the planning commissioners that he wasn't planning any commercial aspect to the structure.

His design team has extensive experience in adaptive reuse of historic properties. He said they haven't decided upon the outside look of the new addition.

One major attraction to the property, Bartram said, is the nearby Riverfront Park.

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Bartram's other projects in downtown include the 9Thirteen Lofts and rehabilitating the Simon Warehouse from an abandoned potato storage building into apartments.

He and his Sterling Companies on May 1 completed the purchase of the United Sugars Corp. building at the east end of the Center Mall and the adjacent parking lot at the corner of Center Avenue and 7th Street North.

It'll be a couple of years until it's complete, but Bartram plans to develop the parking lot into a mixed-use structure with commercial space on the first floor and apartments above. There might be condominiums on the top floor. The United Sugars building will remain office space.

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