Client: City of Grand Forks (ND)
GG+A completed an inspection of Downtown Grand Forks and in-person interviews and focus panels with merchants, restaurant and bar/night club owners and managers, financial institutions, large employers, professional service providers, economic development and planning professionals, Downtown property owners, real estate developers, and real estate brokers as well as community representatives. GG+A directed the inspection and interviews to objectively evaluating conditions in Grand Forks in terms of the following criteria: concentrated linkages; perceived safety and social cohesion; parking, street level activity; tenancies; physical environment, cultural and recreational amenities; character of residential units; make-up of the labor force; and office space; and conference/meeting space.
GG+A also obtained information and insight to conduct real estate economic analysis of development opportunities and to evaluate the potential demand for additional housing in Downtown. GG+A simulated the real estate investment results of prototypical apartment and residential condominium developments for Downtown Grand Forks. We evaluated the real estate economics of representative existing conditions and prototypical development alternatives given current zoning designations. The two prototypes evaluated included:
(1) a surface parked 75-unit multifamily apartment (rental) building consistent with “R-4” zoning along the riverfront; and
(2) a smaller 28-unit condominium (for sale) product type consistent with potential infill development opportunities in the core of the Downtown and zoning standards providing greater flexibility with respect to density and off-street parking.
Implications were drawn from a synthesis of the real estate economic analysis about policies needed to facilitate feasible development in Downtown Grand Forks. In addition, implications were drawn about the actions the City will need to take to facilitate the redevelopment of the water treatment plant site that will become available.
To put the real estate economic analysis in context and to have a framework for the estimates of obtainable sales prices and rents, GG+A completed an analysis of the demand for and supply of housing and estimated the long-term magnitude of obtainable demand the Downtown could capture. GG+A synthesized the results of the research and analysis to identify strategic recommendations for enhancing Downtown Grand forks.