Making good things happen
April 4, 2022
Developer invests in large Minot projects
West Fargo- and Minot-based EPIC Companies has announced plans for the downtown “Big M” building and for The Tracks, along 37th Avenue Southwest.
Last October, the company completed construction on Blu on Broadway. There remains room for ground-level commercial tenants, but occupancy was full this winter for its 42 upper-level apartments, which qualify as affordable for moderate-income residents under a resilience grant agreement with the City of Minot.
“The community support and overall support we have from that project has really helped us want to keep doing projects here,” said McKenzy Braaten, vice president of communications for EPIC Companies. “It really set the tone a little bit for people understanding who we are and what we do.”
Now Minot residents are asking what’s next, Braaten said.
There is additional land at the Blu on Broadway site for townhomes or another development but EPIC has yet to announce any plans. EPIC has an interest in the lower-income Park South townhomes project that is under construction with city resilience program assistance.
Additional landscaping is planned at Blu on Broadway this spring, but because of space issues, the outdoor plaza area initially proposed won’t be built there. Instead, EPIC is developing a grander plaza as part of its next Minot project, called The Tracks.
Located near the new Trinity Health complex, The Tracks will have an ice hockey rink and entertainment stage.
Braaten said The Tracks came about from discussions with the community and Trinity over the type of development they would like to see in that area. It is patterned after EPIC’s West Fargo development, The Lights.
Braaten said The Tracks will have a railroad and western theme as a nod to Minot’s history. Construction will start this spring on a mixed-use building called Maverick. It will have underground parking, and main-level commercial and upper-level apartments.
The second phase is the construction of the Sheridan, which will have apartments, condos, underground parking, and also restrooms, and main floor parking for the public using the plaza. Ground will be broken shortly after construction is underway on the Maverick.
In addition to a multi-level parking structure and nearby plaza space, there will be a video board to promote plaza and community events. There is potential to be able to sell advertising, which would generate money to support activities at the plaza, Braaten said. Ownership of the plaza could fall to a private or city entity, with management by a nonprofit, while EPIC Companies’ EPIC Events would bring in concerts and other ticketed events.
Construction of the first two buildings, parking structure, and plaza should be completed sometime in 2024. Completion of the entire $150 million project could take five to seven years.
EPIC estimates a similar construction timeline for the $14 million renovations of the M building. Construction is to start this spring on the former bank with the iconic letter M on its roof. Braaten said EPIC intends to restore the “M” to the look of the original sign installed by the bank, which had been removed and now stands at the high school sports field. The “M” later installed by previous building owners had a slightly different design.
Braaten said the originally-planned skyway to the parking ramp across the street does not appear to be structurally feasible. However, other plans for the eight-story building that are moving forward include eight condominiums on the top, 24 apartments, underground parking and fitness and community rooms, and main-level commercial space with a drive-through option for a coffee or sandwich shop, and a lobby to house building memorabilia.
“We’re excited to get started and get in there and kind of figure out what we can do next,” Braaten said. “We’re really trying to keep the ‘tradition’ aspect of it as much as we can – similar look, feel, signage. That’s why we want to get memorabilia and have similar lobby furniture.”
EPIC continues to consider the potential for commercial space on the third floor as well as space that would be leased on the main level, Braaten said. The decision will depend on the level of commercial interest in additional space, she said.
“We’ve been a little surprised with the number of people that want commercial space, so that’s been good,” she said.
EPIC was founded by developers who came together in 2015 to further advance development in North Dakota. In 2018, they established EPIC Companies, an umbrella for subsidiary companies in management, construction, events, and charities.
Some of EPIC’s team members have roots in Minot, including company president Todd Berning and chief operating officer Blake Nybakken.
“Minot feels like home to a lot of us,” said Braaten, a native of Mohall. “The whole state of North Dakota has meant a lot, but I don’t think we can say that there are any projects that have meant more to us than Minot.”
EPIC’s goal is to bring projects to Minot that encourage people to choose it as their home, she said.
“It’s all about people,” Braaten said. “For us, that’s a big part of it is making sure that we can ensure that people have a great experience and a good quality of life and find different reasons why they want to call this area home.”