- In his annual state of the city address, Mike Brown, the mayor of Grand Forks, North Dakota, said the city could be in store for a $1 billion construction and development boom, the Grand Forks Herald reported.
- The mayor’s focus was the city’s downtown development and included the mixed-use Argyle project, which is being designed by JLG Architects and will include retail or a restaurant, office plus market-rate apartment rentals; the Selkirk on 4th development, which will feature condominiums, commercial space and underground parking; and the Fire Thorn project, which will offer both affordable and market-rate residential units; as well as a grocery store and a bank. The Grand Forks City Council approved a tax increment financing plan for the Fire Thorn project.
- Pending funding, the North Dakota Department of Transportation is also planning a reconstruction of two principal downtown roadways, and RDG Planning & Design is in the midst of drawing up a Downtown Action Plan for Grand Forks that would include downtown infrastructure and streetscape improvements and would set guidelines for future development. "Grand Forks has momentum," Brown said. "If we are bold enough to act and we attend to the details, we'll accelerate this momentum."
Grand Forks is the latest town to grab its share of the construction boom from which larger metros have been benefiting for years.
Linn County, Iowa, home to the city of Cedar Rapids, has seen a great deal of development and construction — about $1.6 billion since 2016, a figure that includes 125 projects valued at $1 million or more and both public and private spending in the commercial, industrial, financial, manufacturing and residential sectors. Some big projects include a $46 million Collins Community Credit Union headquarters and a $5 million medical marijuana plant project.
Allen County, Indiana, which includes the city of Fort Wayne, booked impressive construction activity of more than $1 billion in both 2017 and 2018. The permits cover commercial, residential, new construction and renovations, but the value of 2018’s commercial permits alone, as of the end of November, was $586 million. A dual-branded $35 million hotel project and the Riverfront Fort Wayne redevelopment are examples of the kinds of developments contributing to the construction economy there.
Omaha, Nebraska, also has some major public and private projects coming up. The city is working on a $260 million to $290 million downtown riverfront renovation project that Kiewit Building Group has been chosen to manage. In addition, ConAgra is moving forward with a $500 million redevelopment of its former headquarters there. The company will add seven new buildings to the 23-acre site, and new construction is expected to include residences, hotel rooms, office space and retail.