City leaders on Monday approved a tax break for a $6 million, five-story apartment project on DeMers Avenue.

City Council members voted unanimously to approve Renaissance Zone Project GF-61 -- better known as “The Argyle” apartments -- and authorized city staff to forward the project to the North Dakota Department of Commerce for further approval.

Cities can offer five-year property tax exemptions to construction or renovation projects in a Renaissance Zone, and the state can do likewise with business income taxes. That means, until 2024, the new apartments would be taxed by both as if the lot on the 300 block of DeMers was still empty.

The Argyle, according to documents supplied to council members, would have a bar, restaurant, or retail outlet on its first floor, offices on the second floor, and 24 market-rate apartments on floors 3-5. The state, which has yet to OK the tax break on its end, would give up about $20,000 in business income taxes over the next five years. The city, plus other taxing authorities like Grand Forks Public Schools, would give up about $300,000 in property taxes, according to estimates provided to city staff.

Renaissance Zone applications need to be approved by the state and city before construction can begin, pending a “certificate of good standing” from the North Dakota Tax Commission. City staff said they expect to see that certificate “shortly.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall and wrap up the next.

The City Council on Monday also:

  • Finalized a change to city code that will allow University of North Dakota staff to update signs on campus. The changes mean smaller signs with digital displays.

  • Formally approved a request from Ralph Engelstad Arena staff to modify the arena’s liquor license -- and the Alerus Center’s -- to allow either to sell alcohol at sponsored events, rather than strictly on their premises. The move could help attract more events to Grand Forks. But council members, some of whom worried about giving too much leeway to the Ralph, added an amendment that limited both venues’ licenses to off-site events only at the Empire Arts Center and Chester Fritz Auditorium.