Housing needed

A workforce housing provider in North Dakota announced this past week it has been awarded a nearly $30 million contract to provide workforce housing in the Bakken shale.

Target Logistics, with headquarters in The Woodlands, Texas, will provide the housing in the Bakken to one of the largest independent crude oil and natural gas companies in the United States for over the next three years.

Housing remains a critical issue in the North Dakota oil patch, including in the fringe areas.

Randy Pruett, a spokesman for Target Logistics, said there are still housing needs.

“Target Logistics will work to accommodate any company (as shown by this new $30 million contract),” Pruett said.

“Moreover, we’ve seen more of a focus on quality versus quantity of workforce housing. To make the “best home away from home,” a housing company now needs to provide high-quality nutrition, comfort, recreation, entertainment, fitness amenities, camaraderie, security, peace and quiet all with zero tolerance for public intoxication, drugs and firearms. Together, this has proven to increase profitability, boost productivity, enhance morale, reduce turnover and improve safety creating what Target Logistics defines as “The Economics of Comfort,” Pruett said.

Target Logistics is the largest workforce housing provider in the United States, including in North Dakota, and one of the largest in North America. It operates 16 properties in the United States, including North Dakota, and Canada with more than 5,300 total beds.

The North Dakota Target Logistics properties include:

– Williston North Lodge, opened in November 2010, located in Williston, with 415 beds.

– Tioga Lodge, opened in November 2010, located in Tioga, with 1,038 beds and 100 RV spots.

– Muddy River Lodge, located in Williston, with 158 beds. The facilities were originally built for the Olympics at Whistler, British Columbia, and were moved and rebuilt at this location in December 2010.

– Stanley Cabins, located in Stanley, North Dakota, with 96 beds, opened in August 2010 and designed to house the client’s truck drivers who work in the region.

– Bear Paw Lodge, opened in August 2011, located in Williston, with 496 beds.

– Williston Cabins, opened in September 2011, located in Williston, with 124 beds.

– Dunn County Lodge, opened in February 2012, located north of Dickinson, with 596 beds.

– Stanley Hotel, a permanent hotel, renovated by Target Logistics in August 2012, located in Stanley, with 338 beds.

– Company #9 Mobile Crew Camp, a self-contained, movable, quick-to-permit community with 80 beds, designed for operations that relocate frequently and are in need of housing solutions for rapid deployment. Opened in September 2012 and currently deployed in North Dakota. However, the crew camp is in process of being deployed to Mexico.

– Williams County Lodge, opened in October 2012, located in Williston, with 300 beds.

– Judson Executive Lodge, opened in October 2012, located west of Williston, with 100 beds.

– Watford City Lodge, opened in November 2012, located in Watford City, with 334 beds.

Another example of projects being done to fill the need for housing is on the Fort Berthold Reservation where the Three Affiliated Tribes are building homes for medical staff for its Elbowoods Memorial Health Center in New Town and for tribal law enforcement staff.

Jim Foote, Elbowoods Memorial Health Center housing project manager, said 49 houses will be completed this spring, although 30 houses already are completed and health center staff are living in some of them. He said a second-phase housing project will provide 61 more houses. The Three Affiliated Tribes are financing the housing projects.

Niles Hushka, Bismarck, president and chief executive officer of KLJ, a consulting surveying and engineering firm with offices in several cities in the state, told members of the North Dakota Legislature’s Energy Development and Transmission Committee meeting in Minot April 8, “There is housing, it’s just that it’s full.”

He noted there’s significant labor shortages and that there are projections North Dakota could have up to 40,000 or more wells in the state in the future.

KLJ is working on a study of the future of the oil and gas industry in North Dakota. The study covers housing, labor and various other topics over a five-year period.

The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency did a study of statewide housing in 2012. Matt Wetz, the agency’s public affairs director, said the study seems to be following what was projected at that time. He said the agency will be reviewing whether it needs to do another study.