MOORHEAD - A developer has been selected by the City Council to bring a four-story, mixed-use building to the second busiest intersection in Moorhead.

Coming soon to the southeast corner of Eighth Street and Main Avenue - which is second only to the Interstate 94 interchange at Eighth Street for amount of traffic - will be a project from Five Stone Development, a West Fargo-based company. It was picked as the preferred developer by council members on Monday, May 22, based on the recommendation of a special peer review panel comprised of community stakeholders looking to revitalize downtown Moorhead.

The committee found that dedicating the entire first floor to commercial space and having a secure tenant occupy office space on the second floor were "unchallenged advantages," the resolution document reads.

Eventide, which operates senior living facilities in the community, is already set as a tenant for the second floor, with retail on the ground floor and two levels of condos. Matt Baasch, developer with Five Stone, said there will be about 12 apartments on the third and fourth floors.

"We're just excited because Eventide has grown a great deal and certainly this is just further solidification that our roots are and always will be in Moorhead," said Eventide President and CEO Jon Riewer.

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Riewer said his corporate team of about two-dozen people will transition from its existing location at 2405 8th St. S. to new offices before the end of 2018 if all goes according to plan.

Cindy Graffeo, executive director of the Economic Development Authority, said financial terms still need to be negotiated within what is called a development assistance agreement before going to the council for consideration as early as June 24.

"This is the potential that we have," Graffeo said. "I believe wholeheartedly that this is a flagship project for our community and shows what downtown is capable of."

"We're gonna get there and this is how," she added.

The peer review committee made its recommendation to the City Council after meeting with the two developers that submitted proposals - Five Stone and Dakota Commercial - and then shared findings with the council in an executive session May 8.

Council member Heidi Durand said she expressed some "minor" concerns to Graffeo about the amount of commercial space in comparison to housing.

Graffeo said it's her professional opinion, as well as the unanimous recommendation of the panel, that for the "true heart of downtown, you want mix-use."

The city is meeting housing needs with other "projects in the pipeline" that will result in more multi-family housing, Graffeo said, answering Durand's concerns others may have about the city neglecting housing needs.

Council member Brenda Elmer said she is excited about the project. She believes it will "create some synergy and energy downtown and bring that vitality that we've been so craving."

"This is the beginning of a great thing for downtown," Elmer said.

City attorney John Shockley said council member Steve Gehrtz, who was not at Monday's meeting, recused himself from voting on the agenda item. Gehrtz owns a construction company in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

All seven other council members approved Five Stone as the preferred developer.