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Foundation looks for tax credits to spur investments in GF

More investments are headed toward Grand Forks' downtown, the area around the Grand Cities Mall and the area north of the Alerus Center, if the City Council gives its blessings to a group of investors.

More investments are headed toward Grand Forks' downtown, the area around the Grand Cities Mall and the area north of the Alerus Center, if the City Council gives its blessings to a group of investors.

The council's Finance Committee recommended Monday that the full council agree to a "renaissance fund organization" being proposed by the Center for Innovation Foundation, affiliated with UND's tech incubator.

The foundation is raising funds for a tech park near the Alerus Center.

Bruce Gjovig, the foundation's CEO and the incubator's director, said a private developer has plans for a new office building and a data center. That's in addition to the North Dakota University System data center planned for the same area, he said.

The tech park, which would take about 10 years to complete, would focus on the information technology, communications, unmanned vehicle and clean energy industries, he said.

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The foundation is looking for $1.2 million in tax credits, he said, allowing him to raise $4 million in investments. Most of it would come from banks and utilities, he said, but wealthy investors may also be included.

A renaissance fund organization is a group of investors that, in exchange for investing in Renaissance Zones and reaping tax breaks from doing so, may also get similar tax breaks for investments outside of the zone.

Most of downtown Grand Forks is in the Renaissance Zone as is the Grand Cities Mall, the Town and Country Mall and the block around the Grand Forks Public Library.

A proposed agreement between the foundation and the city says half of any investments made between now and the end of the year must go into the Renaissance Zone. After that, all of the investments must go into the zone.

Gjovig said investments must be more than just buying a building. The idea, he said, is to improve the buildings or construct a new building.

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

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