Posted 7/22/14 (Tue)
By Neal A. Shipman
Three New York developers are planning to make a $65 million investment on Watford City’s Main Street that will consist of seven apartment buildings, as well as two, three to six-story office/retail buildings that will meet this growing community’s needs for housing and commercial space.
According to Israel Weinberger, who is partners with his brother, Johnathan, and Steven Neuman of Coltown Properties, the New York-based development company has already begun construction on Madison Heights Apartments, which is located north of the Watford Veterinary Clinic.
“Madison Heights, which will cost $45 million, will ultimately consist of seven, three to four-story apartment buildings with a total of 325 apartments,” states Weinberger. “Three of the apartment buildings are currently under construction, with the first building to be open in September, while the second phase of the project is expected to begin this fall.”
But it is Coltown Properties’ intention to construct two, three to six-story office/retail buildings on Watford City’s Main Street, that has Curt Moen, city planner, excited.
“We (the city) want to keep Watford City’s downtown as a destination,” states Moen. “While we are going to see retail expand into other areas of the city, we want to see the professional businesses, dining and boutique shops located downtown, which is what you see in other larger communities.”
According to Weinberger, Coltown Properties has purchased both sides of Main Street from Park Avenue south to the Children’s Playground on the east side of Main Street, and to the Long X Visitor Center on the west side.
“The first phase of the Main Street project will be on the east side of Main Street,” states Weinberger. “We expect to break ground on that phase in 2014, with development of the east side of Main Street to follow.”
“We want our Main Street project, which will provide for retail, commercial and residential space, to be the gateway to the city,” stated Weinberger. “It is going to be a very attractive addition to the community.”
According to Weinberger, Coltown Properties was attracted to Watford City because of the high level of activity in the community, in addition to their ability to work with city officials.
“Following the Bakken Investor Conference in Minot in April of 2013, we toured many of the communities being impacted by the oil development,” stated Weinberger. “Of all the cities that we visited, we were really attracted to Watford City.”
According to Weinberger, the city’s efforts to develop Wolf Run Village and Wolf Pup Daycare made a big impression on them.
“What we saw in Watford City was a community that will become a successful city in the Bakken,” stated Weinberger. “We wanted to be a part of that success.”
According to Moen, Coltown’s plans for their Main Street projects are currently in the engineering stage. But he anticipates to see demolition of the existing buildings, as well as some mass grading on the sites this fall.
“They are proposing a very nice project,” states Moen. “It will have retail space on the lower level and office and apartment space on the upper levels. In addition, they will be providing underground parking beneath the buildings as well as covered parking.”
More Development Coming At Hunter’s Run, The Crossings And Fox Hills
While Moen is anxious to see the new improvements come to downtown Watford City, he is also excited that development is occurring rapidly in many of the existing subdivisions.
“We’re starting to see a lot of development activity now at Hunter’s Run, The Crossing and Fox Hills, which are all on the east side of Watford City,” states Moen.
According to Moen, two new motels, two restaurants and a gas station will be built at Hunter’s Run, as well as new residential housing and office space.
“There have already been permits issued for 800 units of housing at Hunter’s Run,” states Moen. “And I would anticipate that we will see permits issued for an additional 400 to 500 housing units.”
At The Crossings, Moen anticipates seeing more office space, as well as 300 new apartments being constructed this year.
And with construction set to start on the new Watford City High School and a Community Events Center in the Fox Hills Subdivision, Moen believes that there will be tremendous growth in that development.
“In addition to the school and events center, a new hotel and 200 apartment units are planned in Fox Hills,” states Moen.
According to Moen, the construction of a new healthcare facility, school and events center will only make Watford City more attractive to families looking to make the community home.
“When those three projects are done, we could see a huge growth in families coming to Watford City,” predicts Moen.
Which is why he is excited that by the end of 2015, there will be between 2,000 and 3,000 apartments available in Watford City.
“We’re going to have the housing that we need,” says Moen. “While it may not be the housing that everyone wants initially, we will have housing. The single family housing will come.”