Fargo-based Marcil Group acquires large area of land in Grand Forks
GRAND FORKS - A Fargo-based real estate development group has completed one of the largest land purchases in recent memory here. The Marcil Group closed two weeks ago with Greenberg Enterprises on the purchase of about 568 acres of undeveloped la...
GRAND FORKS - A Fargo-based real estate development group has completed one of the largest land purchases in recent memory here.
The Marcil Group closed two weeks ago with Greenberg Enterprises on the purchase of about 568 acres of undeveloped land on the south end.
Some of the land will be developed into commercial and residential space over the next 20 years, with the developer expecting to partner with the city and other developers and possibly sell off some of the land.
"This is some of the biggest news in Grand Forks in a long time," said Mike Marcil, CEO of The Marcil Group Inc. "It's a huge piece of south Grand Forks. It's the majority of commercial land ready to be developed south of 32nd Avenue South."
A press conference will be held to announce the news at 1:30 p.m. today at UND's Center for Innovation, where the company got its start.
Marcil would not disclose the purchase price, but acknowledged it is in the "millions."
He said the transaction essentially includes all of Art Greenberg's remaining land.
The land stretches roughly from Columbia Road to just west of Interstate 29 and just south of SuperTarget to just north of King's Walk Golf Course. It also includes land surrounding Furniture Row and a slice of land near Columbia Mall.
"It's probably one of the largest land deals that Grand Forks has ever seen," said Nick Hacker, a Grand Forks-based business development manager for The Marcil Group. "There is a good chance that there hasn't been an exchange of this much land in a single transaction in North Dakota in recent years."
The sale took about six months to close and talks started more than a year ago. Marcil said negotiations nearly broke down earlier this year.
"We were 50-50 on this, whether we would do this," he said.
Marcil said Robert Kelley's hiring as UND's new president played a part in the decision to get the deal done, believing that Kelley will be willing to work together on future development projects.
It also didn't hurt that Art Rosenberg, a partner in The Marcil Group, is Art Greenberg's nephew.
"It was a huge part of this deal," Marcil said. "The trust factor was put together with the uncle and the nephew. It was a long conversation. There was almost a yearlong conversation of the Greenberg legacy and the best way to preserve that."
Greenberg was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
Marcil said the land will be the future home of new retail development, including big box stores, smaller shops and restaurants, as well as apartments and other housing, commercial and possibly even industrial uses.
Construction is expected to begin on the first few projects totaling about 12 acres of land in the next 18 to 24 months.
The developer has yet to apply to the city's planning department for approval on any of its future projects.
Development on the massive swath of land is expected to continue for as long as 20 years.
The new development will include future commercial development south on Columbia Road and more commercial space along I-29. Marcil also said he would like to see a freeway exit on 47th Avenue South, allowing more access for future development.
"This is really an economic development corridor play," Marcil said. "This is not an individual developer play. We have a real opportunity to partner with the city and other developers and create a master plan for the next 10 to 15 years in Grand Forks. This is basically an open call to entrepreneurs, developers and businesses that see this part of town as the next phase of development in Grand Forks."
With the transaction, The Marcil Group's largest land holdings now will be based in Grand Forks. The company also plans to open up a full-time Grand Forks development office.
The Marcil Group also recently purchased The Toasted Frog building downtown and owns the St. John's Block building downtown, among its other Grand Forks holdings.
Marcil said the company sees a bright future for Grand Forks and anticipates its land acquisition will open the way for plenty of future development.
"We've been held back in Grand Forks for a number of years in the lack of affordable land," Marcil said. "Affordable land is a basic need for development."
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