Multimillion-dollar Bismarck development gets anchor hotel

BISMARCK, N.D. — Developers of a housing and retail complex proposed for downtown Bismarck have secured a Sheraton Hotel to serve as the project’s anchor.

Cardon Development Group plans to break ground next March for the FiveSouth development. The public-private partnership will be in the area of the Bismarck Event Center and Kirkwood Mall, with a walking bridge connecting the hotel and event center.

City commissioners last September approved a tax increment finance district to fund $35 million in public infrastructure including two new parking ramps. Officials have said private investments in the mixed-use development that also will include apartments and commercial space could total $350 million.

The project could take three years to fully develop. The goal is to attract young people to North Dakota’s capital city, according to developers and city leaders.

“We looked at other communities within our region and within our state, what they were doing to attract talent,” said Bruce Whittey, chairman of the Bismarck Futures group. “And it became quite obvious, of course, that a lot of these communities were investing in their urban centers and urban culture because that’s where young people like to live.”

The four-star, 140-room hotel will be managed by Hegg Companies of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and will include a Crave American Kitchen & Sushi Bar. Crave started in Minneapolis and recently partnered with Hegg to open a location in Sioux Falls, South Dakota’s largest city with an estimated 172,000 people.

Bismarck’s population is only about one-third of that.

“Trying to secure a four-star hotel in Bismarck with 60,000 people is very difficult,” said Don Cardon, CEO of Cardon Development Group. He added that trying to do it during the current oil industry slump made it even more difficult.

But “the contracts are done,” he said. “We’re not going anywhere. FiveSouth will be built.”

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