Posted 3/06/13 (Wed)
By Neal A. Shipman
If you build it they will come!
That is the belief of Oppidan Investment Company, a Minneapolis-based national property development firm, which broke ground last Tuesday for Watford Plaza, a $20 million development on the south side of Watford City.
The new retail shopping center, according to Oppidan’s Jay Moore, is situated on 12 acres of land at the corner of U.S. Highway 85 and the Highway 23 bypass and will have over 118,000 square feet of retail space.
Cash Wise Grocery and Liquor, Alco and Happy Rice Buffet, according to Moore, are the first tenants at Watford Plaza. And he is confident that more and more retail businesses will soon be coming.
“We have officially gone vertical with this project,” stated Moore. “It is our intention to have the complex open in July of 2013.”
Coborn’s, which is opening the Cash Wise Grocery and Cash Wise Liquor according to Moore, will be the largest tenant in the new development with the grocery store occupying 48,000 square feet.
“We look forward to being a bigger part of Watford City,” stated Chris Coburn, president and CEO of Coburn’s. “We acquired Mike’s Super Valu from Mike and Sue Tschetter and we want to continue their commitment to the community in our new store.”
Coborn’s is an employee owned grocery store chain that has 40 stores in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“Watford City is a unique city,” stated Coburn. “It is a very close-knit community with a sense of family and pride. We will work with the city to maintain that uniqueness.”
According to Brent Sanford, Watford City mayor, Oppidan’s decision to bring this level of new commercial development to the community is an indication of how Watford City is being seen in the region.
“Thank you for having the faith to come to our town,” stated Sanford. “You had the faith in us to bring this level of development to our community.”
Likewise, Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Job Development executive director, sees Oppidan’s investment as being a big plus for Watford City.
“Welcome to the future,” stated Veeder. “This is exactly what we, as a community, have been working for.”
According to Veeder, the new businesses that will be operating in the Watford Plaza will be generating $2.5 million in city sales tax.
“Two years ago no one would have believed that this could happen in Watford City,” stated Veeder.
While Coburn’s will occupy just under 50 percent of the initial building, Moore indicated that Alco, which operates stores in 23 states, will be opening a 28,000-square foot store at Watford Plaza.
“We’re living history with what is going on in Watford City,” stated Paul Tucci of Oppidan. “We are excited to bring new goods and services to the people in this area. Our goal is to have the dollars that are being earned in this area spent in this town.”