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Apartments slated to replace vacant hotel along I-94 in Moorhead

Pastor from church next door said his congregation is ecstatic about plan

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The vacant Days Inn hotel and Courtney's Comedy Club building is slated to be demolished to make room for a new three-story apartment building on the site near Interstate 94 and Eighth Street South (Highway 75) in south Moorehead. Barry Amundson / The Forum

MOORHEAD — The abandoned Days Inn hotel and Courtney's Comedy Club along Interstate 94 in south Moorhead is apparently headed for new life.

Brian Bochman of Enclave Companies told the Moorhead City Council on Monday night, Nov. 8, they are planning a 200-unit, three-story, market-rate apartment building on the site along 30th Avenue South and just west of another major housing and retail project the West Fargo developer and construction company is building along the interstate and Eighth Street South (Highway 75).

The property has been vacant for about four years.

The council, which praised Enclave for the work the company is doing along one of the main entrances to Moorhead, unanimously approved a zoning change to mixed use from its former commercial designation.

The decision followed other positive comments from Pastor Robert Drake of the next-door First Presbyterian Church and parishioner Diane Wray Williams about the project, which is still in the preliminary planning stages.

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"We're ecstatic," said Drake.

He said they were concerned about adding sidewalks to the area as currently they aren't in place and also using a small slice of the project area for an apple orchard or for another community use.

Drake said they have a variety of amenities already on church property that they encourage the public to use, including a community garden, playground and soccer field and want to continue to see the area become more of neighborhood.

Bochman said they were willing to work with the church and wanted to be a "good neighbor."

Wray-Williams said it would be a "definite improvement to the area."

"We're very supportive," she said about the project.

City Planner Robin Huston said there were also concerns raised about increased traffic with the structure, but she said an estimate by the city's traffic engineer said it shouldn't put an "undue strain" on the roads with about 400 to 600 added daily trips.

Huston said the hotel, bar and comedy club had similar traffic when it was open, although acknowledged it has been much quieter since it closed.

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Bochman said the traffic could even be "significantly less" than when the hotel was open because of the conventions and weddings that were held there.

He added that the other new four-story, 130-unit, $17 million apartment building called The Emery they are currently constructing just east of Eighth Street South along the interstate and the estimated $6.5 million remodeling of the 1970s-era Southmoor Square strip mall should "really bring a lot of new life there."

Bochman said they are planning to demolish part of the mall within the next 30 to 60 days, while work is well underway on the apartment building with 40% of those units slated to be for low-income residents.

With the new project on the former hotel site, three areas of the quadrant surrounding Moorhead's major I-94 intersection with Eighth Street South will be refreshed, with the northwest corner still remaining.

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The Southmoor Square shopping area, combined with The Emery at Southmoor apartments, is expected to revive a moribund quadrant of the 8th Street South and Interstate 94 intersection in Moorhead. This view of the completed project looks east from 8th Street South. (Rendering courtesy of Enclave)

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