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Business park aims to 'clean up' Fargo's front door

FARGO - Demolition and site preparation is underway to create Butler Business Park on a 15-acre former site of Butler Machinery at the southeast corner of Interstate 29 and Main Avenue.

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FARGO – Demolition and site preparation is underway to create Butler Business Park on a 15-acre former site of Butler Machinery at the southeast corner of Interstate 29 and Main Avenue.

The two-year, $18 million project by Minneapolis-based Hyde Development will create 190,000 square feet of new, energy-efficient warehouse and office space, said Paul Hyde, founder and partner of the firm.

The project "will clean up the front door" for Fargo, Hyde said Friday.

Groundbreaking was held last week on the first phase of the project, a 65,000-square-foot office and warehouse at 100 36th St. S. that should be completed by December, Hyde said.

Next spring, construction of a 125,000-square-foot bulk warehouse will start, Hyde said.

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Hyde said the project, once complete, should add about 250 jobs in that parcel, which hasn't seen any significant job generation in years.

"What the city is excited about is seeing some redevelopment outside of the downtown" area, Hyde said. "The hope is that this kind of bookends the development down on Broadway."

The City Commission approved $2.1 million in tax reimbursement for the project late last year, said city of Fargo planner Joe Nigg. That break will be doled out over 15 years in the form of tax increment financing.

The tax break was given to defray costs of upgrading utilities and other infrastructure, environmental cleanup and demolition of five buildings, Nigg said.

The buildings that had been on the site were built in the 1950s and brought in less than $10,000 a year in property taxes, Nigg said. The completed project could bring in $250,000 a year in property taxes, Nigg said.

The warehouse planned for this year is a conventional steel frame on a concrete slab with precast walls. It is expected to cost $3.5 million and the parking lot about $713,000, city inspections office documents state.

Hyde said the buildings will meet LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building standards. He said tenants should be happy with the utility bills compared with older buildings.

"You're going to see some real energy savings," Hyde said.

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Hyde said his firm is negotiating with at least five potential clients. The business park should be attractive to a variety of businesses, including technology firms, office produce companies, distributors and those needing showroom space, he said.

Hyde Development has been redeveloping industrial sites for 18 years in the Minneapolis area and Milwaukee, but this is its first in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Hyde said the firm's goal is to continue to redevelop underused sites in the F-M area.

"It's time to start reusing these sites to keep the city vital and growing," Hyde said.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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