The city of Grand Forks has reached out to Forum Communications about purchasing the company-owned Herald building, according to City Administrator Todd Feland.

Feland updated city leaders on the proposal Tuesday during meetings of the Grand Forks Growth Fund Committee and the Grand Forks City Council.

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The Herald building is across the street from City Hall on Second Avenue North, and it currently houses Grand Forks Herald staff, the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corps. and, most recently, the Grand Forks School District.

Feland said the city gave Forum Communications a starting offer of $2.7 million for the whole building and is now waiting for a counteroffer.

"When you look at a purchase versus a lease, the purchase option is a more feasible option for us from a financial perspective, and it provides some control," he told the council.

"I think it's much better than the lease option," said council member Danny Weigel, who also serves on the Growth Fund Committee. "I'd rather own than rent from somebody."

Grand Forks has indicated it is interested in creating a public space from the community room on the first floor of the Herald building. The city has also considered using some of the office space on the first floor for city staff.

"We hope to have something back to the JDA," Feland said, referring to the Jobs Development Authority, a separate decision-making entity consisting of all seven council members and Mayor Mike Brown. The Growth Fund Committee reviews and makes recommendations on items for the JDA.

Feland said the city looks forward to partnering on this project with UND and the Grand Forks Public Library, the latter of which will receive an update from Feland during its Wednesday meeting.