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Sanford confirms 67-acre land purchase in Grand Forks

The land is located on the eastern side of Interstate 29, between 40th Avenue South and 47th Avenue South.

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The sun rises behind a water tower in Grand Forks. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

GRAND FORKS — A senior Sanford Health official on Wednesday confirmed the company has purchased a 67.5-acre plot of land in southern Grand Forks, noting it likely will disclose its plans for the land later this year.

“As our community continues to grow to the south and the southwest, Sanford Health wants to be prepared to meet the future health care needs of greater Grand Forks, East Grand Forks and the surrounding area,” said Justin Stromme, senior director of Sanford Health Network.

“Our investment in this prime location will pave the way for expansion in an area that is primed for growth,” he added. “We will continue to partner with our patients, community leaders and neighbors to develop this land into a medical hub tailored to those we serve, now and in the future.”

The land is located on the eastern side of Interstate 29, between 40th Avenue South and 47th Avenue South, Stromme said.

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The comments tease the possibility of major health-business growth in Grand Forks as well as an escalation in the local rivalry between Sanford, which has its headquarters in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Grand Forks-based Altru Health System — both of which have made major investments in Grand Forks in recent years. A south-end clinic operated by Sanford opened along 47th Avenue South this past summer; Altru’s ongoing $380 million project to build a new hospital, which has been in development for years, is perhaps the most significant capital health investment in the region in a generation.

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Both organizations also have focused in recent months on expansion into Devils Lake.

RELATED: Altru’s Grand Forks hospital, Devils Lake expansion moving ahead | Sanford clinic in Devils Lake to open March 1

Altru spokesperson Annie Bonzer declined to comment on another health care company’s plans. In an email, she wrote that Altru is “focused on providing world-class care to the residents of our region and continuing to serve as our community-led health system.”

A message seeking comment from an area landowner rumored to be involved in the deal was not immediately returned.

The nature of the new project is not clear, but the size of the plot of land indicates a potentially significant investment. It also will be located near a hoped-for interchange along 47th Avenue South with Interstate 29, which City Administrator Todd Feland said could see construction begin within the next five years.

“I would anticipate it would be more of a broad-range health care facility that they would want to bring into the community,” Feland said.

Mayor Brandon Bochenski on Wednesday hailed the news of Sanford’s interest as a sign of an economically healthy community.

“More local health care options is a huge positive and a signal of a growing community,” he said in a text message.

Related Topics: SANFORD HEALTH
Sam Easter is a freelance reporter who has been a regular contributor to the Herald since 2019. He covers a variety of topics, including government and politics.

In 2015, he joined the Herald’s staff as City Hall reporter, covering North Dakota politics at all levels and conducting Herald investigations through early 2018, when he began his freelancing career.

Easter can be reached at samkweaster@gmail.com or via Twitter via @samkweaster.
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