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UND seeking developer for portion of Ray Richards Golf Course

A request for information from potential developers closed on June 1, and Mike Pieper, associate vice president of facilities, says a procurement team is looking over proposals for the space.

The Ray Richards golf course in Grand Forks. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)
The Ray Richards golf course in Grand Forks is shown in this 2016 Herald file photo.
Joshua Komer / Grand Forks Herald
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GRAND FORKS — A new development could be coming to UND’s Ray Richards Golf Course, but it won’t be a new clubhouse.

UND is seeking a developer to enter a long-term ground lease on the Ray Richards Golf Course for an unspecified development. A request for information from potential developers closed on June 1, and Mike Pieper, associate vice president of facilities, says a procurement team is looking over proposals for the space.

The space available for development is a 12-acre plot of land on the edge of the nine-hole course that used to be the driving range. The developer would design, finance, construct, own and manage the development on the land while under a ground lease with the university.

Pieper said the main goal of a development at the golf course is to generate revenue to offset the costs of the golf course, which has been costly for UND to operate in the past.

“On good years, it was just over breaking even,” said Pieper. “On bad years, it was running a small deficit.”

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The Ray Richards Golf Course was originally closed in 2016 in what UND called a cost-saving move . Originally, UND intended to sell the land to help fund athletic department priorities, but family members of Ray Richards did not support this plan , claiming the sale would go against the original intent of the gift. The golf course reopened in 2020, but the driving range has remained closed and the nets and poles were taken down.

The development will be independent of the university and the golf course. The land could be used for anything from condos or a bar and grill, to a mixed use building, with businesses on the ground floor and apartments above.

“It was kind of just open ended. The main goal is to try to generate some new revenue for the course,” Pieper said.

This would not be the first ground lease development for UND. The Hilton Garden Inn was a similar development.

Pieper said the family of Ray Richards is supportive of the idea to lease the land to another party.

“Any money generated from that ground lease would be used as an endowment to operate and maintain the course moving forward, so there was interest by the family to do that,” he said.

Related Topics: UNIVERSITY OF NORTH DAKOTA
Ingrid Harbo joined the Grand Forks Herald in September 2021.

Harbo covers Grand Forks region news, and also writes about business in Grand Forks and the surrounding area.

Readers can reach Harbo at 701-780-1124 or iharbo@gfherald.com. Follow her on Twitter @ingridaharbo.
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