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Fargo finalizes sale of Island Park parking ramp to Bell Bank

As part of the purchase agreement, the bank will allow free night and weekend parking for about 100 spots in the ramp.

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The Island Park Parking ramp is on First Avenue South between Bank of the West and Wells Fargo. David Samson / The Forum
The Forum

FARGO — The sale of one of the city's first downtown parking ramps to Bell Bank was approved unanimously by the Fargo City Commission on Monday, Oct. 18.

After finding some needed repairs, the city and the bank agreed to reduce the sale price from $9.5 million to $9.37 million. The repairs were found as part of a report on all of the city parking ramps and garage facilities.

Bell Bank decided to split the $248,000 price tag for repairs with the city, thus lowering the purchase price by $124,000.

The bank plans to use the ramp for its employees as they are planning a major renovation of the currently nearly empty Bank of the West tower they have purchased along Main Avenue and next to the parking facility.

City Strategic Planner Jim Gilmour said Bell Bank's major renovation of the downtown landmark will make the building look "almost brand new."

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The bank is planning to have about 250 employees in the building and will use part of the 330-vehicle Island Park ramp for those workers. There is also a 150-spot parking ramp behind the new Bell building on the corner of Main Avenue and Broadway.

In addition, Bell Bank has about 56 employees at its 15 Broadway facility just down the street and is planning to increase that number by more than 100 in the next year. The bank will also use the ramp for some of those workers.

As part of the purchase agreement, expected to be signed within days, Gilmour said the bank will allow free night and weekend parking for about 100 spots in the ramp and allow 25 people who currently lease spots there to keep them.

Bell Bank may add another level to the ramp, adding 80 more parking spots, Gilmour said.

In addition, he said, the bank is planning to honor an earlier city arrangement to lease up to 100 spots for the new six-story, $21 million JLG Architects headquarters with apartments above across the street.

Gilmour said that structure is being delayed as they have been working for the past four months on figuring out a 1906 agreement on a right of way issue with the Burlington Northern Railway on the JLG site.

The ramp was built in 2000 for about $4.5 million with another $900,000 dished out for the land, he said.

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