Commercial projects take off in Stanley, Tioga

STANLEY A Minnesota financial group that has been investing in the Bakken held groundbreaking ceremonies for commercial projects in Stanley and Tioga Wednesday. Both projects are anchored by a Coborn’s Cash Wise Grocery and Liquor Store.

Oppidan, based in Minnetonka, Minn., plans to build 150,000 square feet of commercial space worth $12 million in Stanley on farmland that has been rezoned and annexed. The first phase involves 22 acres on the south side of U.S. Highway 2, extending west of the existing city.

Construction actually started a few weeks ago. The 35,000-square-foot grocery will replace an existing 10,000-square-foot Food Pride store downtown. Confirmed tenants so far besides the grocery are a Holiday Station, Tractor Supply, O’Reilly and MainStay Hotel and Suites.

In total, Oppidan plans to build about $150 million worth of commercial and residential projects in Stanley, Tioga, Watford City, Minot, Dickinson and Williston. Already under construction are $6 million in apartment buildings in Williston, $30 million in the Southgate retail center near Dakota Square Mall in Minot, $15 million in commercial space and $7 million in apartments in Watford City and $7 million in Cash Wise grocery and liquor stores in Tioga. The $35 million commercial project getting started in Dickinson this spring includes a Menards.

Oppidan president Joe Ryan said the region has been a fun place to do business.

“It’s changing the face of America,” he said of the Bakken, “and we are just very, very pleased to be a small part of that.”

Chris Coborn, president of Coborn’s, said the new Stanley grocery will employ staff from the Stanley grocery that it is replacing. The company hopes to have the store operational by Christmas.

“It’s a big deal to us, and we are excited to be here. We are going to continue to be committed to this city as good corporate citizens,” Coborn said.

Oppidan presented a symbolic check representing a $10,000 donation to Mountrail County Health Center in Stanley. The group presented $10,000 to the City of Tioga to be used to assist an organization of its choice.

At the Stanley ground-breaking, Paul Govig, director of community services with the North Dakota Commerce Department, said the development by Oppidan and Coborn’s will be a solid investment.

“These are very reputable companies,” he said. “Stanley and the surrounding area will definitely benefit from this. It’s just a great day in Stanley.”

The movement of commercial activity to Highway 2 has been a concern to Stanley officials, who want to maintain vitality in the downtown. To address that concern, the city council has established the downtown area as a Renaissance Zone. Property owners within the zone may be eligible for tax benefits to improve their buildings.