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New apartment building to break ground near UND campus

Another apartment project will break ground in spring, this one with an unusual location and the aim of absorbing some of UND’s growing enrollment.

The Harbor Bay apartments will occupy 8 acres between DeMers Avenue and the BNSF rail yard, just west of the Columbia Road overpass. It will have 130 units ranging from one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments, and its developers want its proximity to campus to attract students.

“It will be a student-focused development,” said Mark Bell, co-founder and principal of Harbor Bay, based in Chicago.

The project raised some questions from planning officials last year because of its location. The land along the rail yard has mostly been used for industrial, distribution or small retail use, and city officials questioned whether the trains or traffic on DeMers would be a danger to residents.

Bell said the company planned to make the train tracks inaccessible from the building lot, and surveys of potential residents showed that they would most likely cross DeMers at the traffic signal east of the overpass to reach its pedestrian walkway rather than jaywalk on the busy street.

Bell said construction would start this summer and be complete in spring 2015.