Developers plan to add a fifth floor to the Hugo’s development downtown.

The building at the corner of DeMers Avenue and North Fifth Street is being developed by Fire Thorn LLC and will include an Alerus Bank and apartments. Construction on the project will begin in July, said Grand Forks City Administrator Todd Feland.

Fire Thorn LLC is backed by Dakota Commerical’s Kevin Ritterman and Craig Tweten of Community Contractors.

There will be 25 market-value and 25 affordable apartments in the building. Adding a fifth floor will add 18 apartments, nine affordable and nine at market-value.

The Grand Forks County Commission approved amending a tax increment exemption (TIF) previously approved for the building to apply to the fifth floor.

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In September 2017, the Grand Forks City Council approved an application for an 80% TIF over the next 15 years.

The original project was estimated to cost $10.5 million. With this new floor, the project is now estimated to cost $13.6 million.

If the amendment to this TIF is approved by all taxing entities, Fire Thorn will pay 20% of the additional $126,000 in property taxes per year, or about $25,200 per year. The city, school district, county and park district will split the taxes paid.

“This would make the building worth about 20% more,” Commissioner Tom Falck said.

The Grand Forks City Council will have a final review on July 15.

Other business

The commission also approved the installation of a women's suffrage plaque in front of the Grand Forks County Courthouse.

The original county court house is where the first Grand Forks Suffrage Club meeting was held in 1888. The current courthouse is in the same location as the original building.

This was the first women’s suffrage club in what would become North Dakota.

“They were organizing ahead of the convention on the North Dakota constitution,” said Susan Wefald, co-chair of the North Dakota Women’s Suffrage Centennial Committee. “They were trying to get women’s right to vote in the new constitution.”

The plaque will be one of five in the state. Wefald said she is in the application process of getting plaques in Fargo, Valley City and Beach.

The National Votes for Women Trail, in partnership with the Pomeroy Foundation, will be installing the plaques at no cost to the counties or cities.

Next, the plaque to go in front of the county courthouse will need approval by the Nation Votes for Women Trail organization.