Posted 12/16/14 (Tue)
By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
This year was a big year for McKenzie County in terms of developments. Not only was construction for various business, single-family home, apartment complex and industrial complex projects started or completed, but significant improvements were made to area highways. The U.S. Highway 85 and N.D. Highway 23 bypass corridors around Watford City were completed, as was the Alexander bypass corridor. In addition, the U.S. Highway 85 four-lane project from Watford City to north of Alexander was finished.
While 2014 was a busy construction year in Watford City, many believe that there is even more to come in 2015.
With regard to developments in Watford City in 2014, Seth Sampson, assistant city planner, said it was the busiest year to date. In 2014, South Park Plaza took shape with Taco John’s, Saddle Up Western Wear, Red Wing, Tractor Supply Company, Mailbox Solutions Plus, Z Wireless and American Smokehouse Wagon opening. Just a block south, in the same development with the Little Missouri Inn & Suites and Teddy’s Residential Inn, Subway, Watford City Chiropractic, Ink Well Tattoo and the Little Tokyo Japanese Steakhouse restaurant opened for business.
That, however, is just a small fraction of all that took place this year.
According to Sampson, Watford City saw numerous apartment complexes coming on line in both the Pheasant Ridge development, north of Watford City, and at the Hunter’s Run housing development, east of Watford City. Twin homes have also become available for occupancy in those developments, as well as in Tara Estates south of Watford City. Single family homes were also added to Pheasant Ridge and the Bison Run development, which is north of Pheasant Ridge.
“Single-family homes are the slowest to be built in this market,” states Sampson. “Most developers find the twin home style to be the best for families, which is why they are coming on line more than single family homes. Developers find that they recoup their investment the slowest with a single family home, and less so with a twin home. Also, families find the twin home setting more appealing than the apartment setting.”
Also in 2014, Wolf Pup Daycare opened for business, and Phase I of the Watford Square, a retail/ housing development north of Watford City, was completed and a Soka Mattress store was added to it.
While Watford City saw considerable new development this year, Sampson expects 2015 to see even more growth. Driving that continued development is the completion of the U.S. Highway 85 and N.D. Highway 23 bypass corridors around Watford City, which will open new opportunities for development that were before unavailable.
Currently, the land along the Watford City bypass is mostly agricultural. But in 2015 that could start to change.
“Now that the bypass is open, we expect to see substantial commercial and industrial growth along the corridor,” states Sampson. “We also hope to see an industrial park develop along the bypass in the future.”
All of the eastern bypass corridor, along the N.D. Highway 23 route, and most of the western bypass corridor, along the U.S. Highway 85 route, is in Watford City’s ETA, so one of the city’s first plans is to expand infrastructure along the bypass corridor.
“We hope to build a water treatment facility to the south of the city that will service developments in the south and future developments along the bypass,” states Sampson. “It is still undecided as to whether one will be needed to the south, but it is definitely a possibility in the future. Water towers, however, will absolutely be needed to the south to support the growth around the bypass.”
This and roads are the only infrastructure the city has planned for the bypass corridor in 2015.
Sampson states that the coming year should bring equal, if not more, housing to Watford City. People should expect more twin homes and apartments to come on line, as well as some single family homes. There are some hotels in the works for 2015 as well, according to Sampson, and a number of retail stores.
“Retail takes a little longer to catch up, but with all that came together this year, in terms of housing and infrastructure, it is not too far behind,” states Sampson.
There are plans for retail spaces to be added in the two lots that line Main Street and Park Avenue in Watford City. Sampson states the development going in both lots is owned by the same developer who plans to build both retail and office space in the lots.
There will also be more commercial space added to the north of Watford City. In fact, Sampson states that residents could see both sides of north Main Street lined with developments before too long, both commercial and retail.
And with a new six-story office complex scheduled for completion in 2015, and construction to begin on a new hospital, a new high school, and new Events Center in the coming months, there is definitely more on the way for the city of Watford City.