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Olive Ann boutique hotel holds groundbreaking in downtown Grand Forks

The ceremony was followed by a cocktail reception in the Cloud 9 Event Center, which, as well as the current Edgewood Corporate Plaza, will be remodeled as part of the project’s $20 million construction.

Phil Gisi Olive Ann Groundbreaking.jpg
Phil Gisi, co-founder and board member of Edgewood Real Estate, speaks to attendees at the groundbreaking for the Olive Ann boutique hotel.
Jacob Holley
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GRAND FORKS — The Olive Ann boutique hotel and event center broke ground on Thursday, May 26, at a ceremony in downtown Grand Forks.

The ceremony was followed by a cocktail reception in the Cloud 9 Event Center, which, as well as the current Edgewood Corporate Plaza, will be remodeled as part of the project’s $20 million construction.

Developer Phil Gisi spoke first about the hotel, saying he thinks it will be one of his last projects.

"I'm not dying or anything," Gisi said jokingly. "But I do need to retire at some point in time, and I do see this really as my last cool project that I'm really involved in. (I'll stay with) the company forever, and they'll be doing a lot of cool stuff across the upper Midwest, but this one is where I want to leave my signature."

The hotel and event center, which is being constructed alongside an existing building at 322 DeMers Avenue, will have more than 80 hotel rooms, three ballrooms, commercial office space and four luxury condos. There are rumors of a speakeasy in its basement.

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Hagen, who has owned her dog day care business for 18 years this year, said she has had a waitlist for people trying to board their dogs since Memorial Day weekend. During the week there are scattered openings, but weekends are going fast. Her next weekend openings are just after the end of July.

Gisi, CEO of Edgewood Healthcare, said back in March that the hotel will be designed around the history of aviation in Grand Forks. Its name honors Olive Ann Beech, the founder of Beech Aircraft Corporation. Construction planners worked with UND Aerospace and corporate partners at Beechcraft Aircraft to pin down the design.

Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski also spoke at the groundbreaking, saying he hopes the hotel will bring more business to a growing downtown area.

Brandon Bochenski Olive Ann Groundbreaking.jpg
Grand Forks Mayor Brandon Bochenski speaks to attendees at the groundbreaking for The Olive Ann boutique hotel.
Jacob Holley

"The number of projects and the amount of activity that's happening in Grand Forks is really astonishing," Bochenski said. "And we're coming out of the pandemic and having all these 'risk-on' environments, having all these projects and these developers willing to take on that risk and to do projects. So it's exciting — it helps the economy (and) it helps everybody. This is a major piece of it. Hopefully it brings a lot more big business into town, and now we've got a place to bring them downtown and show off the city even more."

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESS
Jacob Holley joined the Grand Forks Herald as its business reporter in June 2021.

Holley's beat at the Grand Forks Herald is broad and includes a variety of topics, including small business, national trends and more.

Readers can reach Holley at jholley@gfherald.com.Follow him on Twitter @JakeHolleyMedia.
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