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42nd Street development breaks ground

AE2S and Icon Architects broke ground on a new office park on Grand Forks' 42nd Street this week, the second one on a half-vacant corridor the city wants to see develop more fully.

AE2S

AE2S and Icon Architects broke ground on a new office park on Grand Forks' 42nd Street this week, the second one on a half-vacant corridor the city wants to see develop more fully.

The first stage is a 42,000-square-foot building the two businesses will share. That's the part that the businesses' executives kicked off with the ceremonial first shovelfuls of dirt Thursday.

It's scheduled to open in about a year just south of Ray Richards Golf Course.

The next stages should take place over the next three years, Icon Architects partner Mike Kuntz said. His firm, which is in charge of developing the rest of the property, is already talking with prospective tenants, he said.

A second and maybe a third building, he said, is beyond just the conceptual stage at this point.

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For the city, developing 42nd Street is a priority. The southern half of the corridor, from DeMers Avenue to 32nd Avenue South, is mostly vacant. Having more businesses build there would increase property values, meaning more property tax revenues, and make the city-owned Alerus Center more attractive.

Mayor Mike Brown, who took part in the groundbreaking and who has made turning 42nd in a "Destination Corridor," singled out AE2S and Icon Architects in his State of the City address in February.

The Planning Department and the Alerus Center is now working with land owners to encourage development and the City Council members has revived property tax incentives as economic development tools, largely aimed at the corridor.

Former Alerus Center Executive Director Steve Hyman, who helped develop the area around the i wireless Center in Moline, Ill., had said the key to getting new restaurants and shops is to get more office buildings whose workers would support those restaurants and shops.

That's roughly how Icon Architects hopes to develop its office park, Kuntz said. The main drive will be to attract businesses that provide professional services -- such as doctors, accountants, lawyers -- and retail businesses -- coffee shops and other stores -- will follow.

The next buildings will be slightly different than the three-story building housing AE2S and Icon Architects.

Kuntz said the plan is to have a staggered appearance with buildings closest to the street with just one-story and buildings farther back with three or more stories.

There are four lots total for potentially three more buildings.

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Reach Tran at (701) 780-1248; (800) 477-6572, ext. 248; or send e-mail to ttran@gfherald.com .

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