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Downtown Fargo Howard Johnson to be demolished, Sidestreet bar to move nearby

FARGO - By this time next year, the downtown Howard Johnson Inn will have been demolished and the Sidestreet Grille & Pub will have moved nearby to make way for dike work, Diversion Authority

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Sidestreet Grille & Pub is located where the City of Fargo would like to place a floodwall. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO – By this time next year, the downtown Howard Johnson Inn will have been demolished and the Sidestreet Grille & Pub will have moved nearby to make way for dike work, Diversion Authority officials said Thursday.
Both have been sold to the Cass County Joint Water Resource District, which is a member of the authority, as part of a $7 million deal, said Mark Brodshaug, a member of the authority board, and diversion consultant Eric Dodds.
Kevin J. Hall, president of the two companies that own the hotel and bar, could not be reached for comment.
A copy of the contract, signed July 23, states the Sidestreet bar will move to 404 4th Ave. N., the same building once occupied by the city assessor’s office. The hotel will close sometime before Nov. 2, the likely date of the final transaction, and demolition would begin the next day.
The 60,700-square-foot hotel and bar was built in 1961 in the aftermath of urban renewal in which several blocks of downtown were leveled.
The dike’s footprint will mainly go through the Sidestreet bar, which overlooks the Red River to the east. Dodds said engineers considered just demolishing the bar and leaving the rest of the hotel alone. But he said the bar and hotel are effectively the same building and the cost of rerouting utilities inside the building would be higher than a simple demolition.
The $7 million deal includes $5.2 million for purchase of the bar and $1.9 million for relocating the bar.
The Joint Water Resource District will own the land under the bar and will have the right to use the land under the hotel for construction. Afterward, the land under the hotel will be usable again by the owner, Northland Hospitality, which may choose to rebuild there.
The dikes will protect downtown before the rest of the proposed Fargo-Moorhead diversion project is completed. They will play a key role in the project by allowing more water to go through town on the Red River and taking pressure off the diversion channel.

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