Pure Development groundbreaking celebrated -- with large hole already in the ground

Wet weather has not delayed the project but the initial hole, which is to be designated as parking for future tenants, has been pumped out three times.

Grand Forks Supt. of Schools Dr. Terry Brenner, right, shares a laugh with mayor Mike Brown and Park District Director Bill Palmiscno at Thursday's groundbreaking for the Pure Development project in downtown Grand Forks. Photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
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The official groundbreaking of the project called Pure Development drew a large crowd of people despite the gray skies and chilly temperatures.

Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown introduced a number of speakers at the event, featuring a ceremonial shovel-turn, which celebrated the formal introduction of what will become a Hugo’s Family Marketplace, Alerus bank and apartment complex, located on the corner of North Fifth Street and DeMers Avenue.

The ceremony took place on Thursday, Oct. 3, and drew about 100 people.

North Dakota Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford was the first person to offer remarks to the attendees after Brown introduced the event, thanking people for attending on a “beautiful day.”


“Pure Development represents a substantial commitment to the Grand Forks community, breathing additional life and improving the quality of life, in this well-established neighborhood,” Sanford said.

Pure Development is a five-story building that will contain 34 apartments priced at market rates, with an additional 34 units to be made available for people with low to moderate income. This was made possible by the use of incentive funds from the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency. The agency provided $1.1 million to the project’s $14 million budget.

Brown also applauded the downtown development project -- and took the opportunity to joke about the groundbreaking ceremony -- with the ground having been well and truly broken about a month ago.

“Today marks the beginning of the project -- just ignore that big hole behind me,” he said to laughter. “But moreover marks another step for a bright future for our community.”

Both the location and naming of Pure Development carries particular import for Hugo’s CEO Kristi Magnuson Nelson.

“As we looked at this site, we realized it was the same location that my grandparents, Hugo and Dorothy (Magnuson), had opened their first store in 1939,” she said. “The first store was called Pure Food Market, and that is why (developer) Kevin (Ritterman) has named the development Pure Development.”

She added that she looks forward to being part of the downtown community again.


The abundantly rainy weather Grand Forks experienced recently hasn’t delayed the project, according to Kevin Ritterman, of Dakota Commercial.

“We’ve had to pump I don’t know how many gallons of water out of the hole here,” he said. “Thankfully, nothing got washed up; that was our biggest concern.”

Ritterman noted that the “hole,” what will become the underground parking for tenants of the building, had to be pumped out three times.

“Last week, we could have gone swimming back here,” he joked in his speech, where he offered thanks to people involved in the project.

Ritterman added that the project is on track to be completed 16 months from now, or at about the end of next year.

“(Things are) looking good,” Ritterman said. “Looking real good.”

Related Topics: BRENT SANFORD
Adam Kurtz is the community editor for the Grand Forks Herald. He covers higher education and other topics in Grand Forks County and the city.

Kurtz joined the Herald in July 2019. He covered business and county government topics before covering higher education and some military topics.

Tips and story ideas are welcome. Get in touch with him at, or DM at @ByAdamKurtz.

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