Grand Forks Business Centers have so far attracted a handful of suitors
For years, officials in the city of Grand Forks have planned to sell Corporate Center I and Corporate Center II, and city staff who spoke to the Herald said they hoped to sell them this summer. . Three or four people expressed some interest in purchasing one or both centers, but city staff declined to name them.
“People have made inquiries, but I don’t want to say their names,” city administrator Todd Feland told the Herald.
City staff provided these potential buyers with floor plans for each building, copies of rental agreements with existing tenants, and copies of December 2019 appraisals that assess the market value of Corporate Center I at 6, $ 57 million and that of Corporate Center II at $ 3 million. They expect to have an updated appraisal of the two buildings later this spring. At present, there is no official property listing for either building.
“At this point, we’re just sharing information with anyone who expresses an interest,” said Meredith Richards, the city’s director of community development.
City staff are hoping – or hoping – to have a sale ended in June, but the lack of an official plan means it could happen in the third quarter of this year.
“June is still possible, but it probably seems a little optimistic to me, given that we don’t have a valuation update or official sales process announced,” said Richards.
Both centers are located at the intersection of DeMers Avenue and North Fourth Street. Corporate Center I houses offices for Alerus Financial; Brady Martz and associates; and the Camrud, Maddock, Olson and Larson law firm. These tenants have the option of purchasing the space they are currently renting from the city.
Across the street, Corporate Center II houses more Brady Martz offices as well as a regional social security office. These tenants could still make a deal to lease their sites to a new owner, but they are not guaranteed to buy their existing spaces.
According to Richards, the U.S. Administration of Government Services, which helps federal agencies like the Social Security Administration secure offices, has started soliciting proposals from entities in Grand Forks to find a new location. Their lease with the city expires in February. But Richards said the city would like to keep the office there and renew the government office lease before the sale. Still, she admitted, contracts can be canceled or changed with the mutual consent of both parties, meaning the Social Security office could end up in a different location, but the city’s intention is to keep it where it is.
The process for the sale of the two buildings will be decided at the next town meetings.
“We don’t have it on the agenda yet, but at some point we’ll have to come up with a real sales process,” she said.
Grand Forks city leaders have plans to sell the two buildings, and Mayor Brandon Bochenski has campaigned in part for their sale. Earlier, city officials said the majority of the proceeds from the sale would be used for economic development.
Selling the centers at their estimated prices would bring in a total of $ 9.57 million, but it’s unclear exactly how the city would spend that money once the sale is over.
Both centers were built with federal funds after the 1997 flood, which means that about a third of their sale price goes to the federally funded community development block grants program. This portion could be around $ 3 million, and would then be used primarily on physical projects for nonprofit groups in Grand Forks. Richards said she informed these groups of the possible influx of new funds to give them time to consider their capital needs and prepare proposals on how that money would be spent, if allocated.
That leaves around $ 6 million that would be returned to the JDA, where it will be considered “unencumbered cash”.
Richards said it will be for economic development. Feland said that could mean relatively high-risk loans for tech companies or money for a recently revealed redevelopment plan for land south of the city-owned Alerus Center.
“The community made this investment after the flood with the business center; now we are reaping those benefits, ”said Feland. “How can we do similar things so that 20 years from now other policymakers and others in the city of Grand Forks are reaping the benefits?”