MOORHEAD - Center Avenue is getting a facelift and along with that, the Moorhead City Council has approved a $112,000 tax break for a new mixed-use redevelopment project along the downtown corridor.
The council on Monday, June 11, OK'd nearly $950,000 in street improvements to Center Avenue, stretching from the Red River to Eighth Street.
Along with poor pavement conditions and alignment shifts, Center Avenue has higher than typical crash rates, according to a city analysis. The avenue has a relatively high number of access points with limited left-turn lanes, and there's a lack of east-west bicycle routes.
Most of the cost, $628,000, is covered by state grants. The remaining $320,000 will be covered by a bond and special assessments to benefiting properties that total $64,400.
City Engineer Bob Zimmerman said some of the parcels included in the special assessment district for the Main Avenue-20th/21st Street South underpass project will be assessed as part of the Center Avenue project.
Community input was used to create four alternative plans for the avenue. On Monday, the council approved the plan that converts Center Avenue from four to three lanes, with a wide shoulder for bike traffic. More than improving the pavement, plans include upgrades such as benches and new building facades.
Also on Monday, the council granted a tax break for a project at 814 Center Ave. Developer Andy Skatvold intends to turn the vacant building, neighboring NAPA Auto Parts and across the street from Taco John's, into residential and commercial spaces.
His plans include a partial demolition on the back half of the building to create 5,400 square feet of retail space for four to five new businesses. Skatvold said he's received a letter of intent for a cornerstone tenant to operate a new restaurant and bar on the main floor.
The second floor will be a high-end, 2,500-square-foot rental apartment, with four bathrooms, four bedrooms and access to a private rooftop patio. The project also includes 59 off-street parking spaces.
The estimated value of the new building is $1 million. Construction is set to begin June 28 and is expected to be done by February 2019.