Moorhead City Council
Nancy Edmonds Hanson
Developer Jim Roers had good news for the Moorhead City Council Monday night: Demolition will take down the former Herberger’s department store on the west end of the Center Mall this winter.
“We do have a bit of good news for you tonight,” the developer teased in announcing the imminent bulldozing, as well as planned demolition of the area formerly occupied by the Thai Orchid restaurant.
The key to the long-awaited start, according to economic development advisor Derrick LaPoint, is two grants from the West Central Initiative Fund received by the Roers company. Demolition work had been expected to begin last summer, but was delayed when applications for Main Street Economic Development Program grants became available earlier this year.
Roers’ first grant, $120,000, is earmarked for removal of the store’s quarters, which have been deemed a “substandard building” after examination by Braun Intertec. The consultants cited extended problems with the roof, where leaks were filling strategically placed barrels on the second floor well before its closure in 2018.
The development company plans to demolish the department store area, but not the adjacent parking ramp, which is owned by the city. Roers told the council that the Thai Orchid structure will also need to be removed to facilitate construction of the new community center and regional library. Work on that building is planned to begin next spring.
Roers also was also awarded a second $120,000 grant to be used for unspecified purposes elsewhere in redeveloping the shopping center site. The two grants are among seven reportedly received by private businesses and developers for projects in Moorhead; more than half of the $1.8 million set aside for the Highway 10 corridor from here to Bluffton, Minnesota, are in the process of being approved by WCIF. (No information about the other recipients has been released so far.)
In a related move at Monday’s meeting, the council approved an extension of its predevelopment and lien agreement with Roers Development. Originally signed in 2019 and extended in 2021, the agreements had set deadlines for a fully fleshed out Master Development Plan and related tax increment financing for this month and November. The new council resolution extends that deadline to March 15, 2024.
Update: Community Center/Regional Library
Earlier in Monday’s meeting, Rob Remark of JLG Architects updated the councilors on progress of the publicly funded community center and regional library. The architectural firm and its construction management partner, McGough Construction, along with Miller Hull, the Seattle-based design company engaged as a consultant, are “two-thirds of the way through the schematic design phase,” according to Remark. He expects that to be wrapped up by the end of the month.
Next comes development of the building’s design, estimated to be complete by the beginning of 2024. “Then we’ll be set up to begin construction in the spring,” he predicted.
Another community forum is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 26, at the Moorhead Public Library, with open houses scheduled from 11:30 to 1 and 4:30 to 7 p.m. “We’ll be asking what’s uniquely Moorhead – what our community wants the facility to celebrate,” he said, adding, “By this time next month, we should have conceptual renderings to take a look at.”