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Petro Serve renovating landmark building for corporate offices

West Fargo City Commissioners gave unanimous approval Monday night to a request from Petro Serve USA for final plat approval of Petro Serve 1st Addition, that will pave the way for development of corporate offices and a fuel facility, on the 7.37 acre parcel in the northwest corner of the city, north of Main Avenue West and West of 15th Street Northwest.

The west property is developed with warehouse and shop facilities; the middle is the former site of the Hi-Ten Hotel; and the east property is the former Smokey's Restaurant that closed several years ago.

Proposed uses of the property include corporate offices of Petro Serve moving from their present Moorhead location to the site; cardtrol diesel/gas facility, underground bulk fuel tank loading facility, Lp gas fueling station, propane refill station and an LNG gas fueling station, all consistent uses with the city plans and ordinances.

In a related move, the commission approved a Renaissance Zone application from Farmers Union Oil Company of Moorhead, DBA: Petro Serve USA who will be building a 12,030 square foot structure and installing other amenities on the Smokey's Restaurant 1772 W. Main Ave. Total cost of building improvements will be $1,035,000 with a projected completion date of April 2014.

Kent Satrang, CEO of Petro Serve, told commissioners that they will be renovating the former Smoky's structure, instead of tearing it down and starting over. He said the building is quite blighted but "we should try to reuse. The building has very good bones. We are really pretty proud of what we are going to do with this old building.

He said the space will be used for corporate offices and other ventures will be done in phases with this project the first. he said 19 office staff members will be located there a well as 17 professional truck drivers. Other phases will include locating transports on the site with a bulk fuel facility, renting space to truckers and a natural gas station if warranted.

"This is going to be a great facility right across from Bonanzaville. We couldn't be happier to be coming over," Satrang said. "We are really excited about this new facility. It will be a real showcase"

Satrang also commended West Fargo city staff for their assistance with the entire project. "I am really impressed with the staff. They have done a spectacular job."

In other action, the commission:

-approved a facade/storefront application request from Todd Fuchs of Payroll Express, to replace the vinyl siding currently on the existing business building at 301 Sheyenne

St. with Hebron brick. Cost of the renovation which will also include the addition of a conference room and office space will be $103,000. The facade application request is for the maximum $20,000 allowed through the city-based program.

-okayed second and final reading of Ordinance No. 974 relating to driving while a license is suspended or revoked so the wording conforms with state law;

-approved a request for a remodeling tax exemption for Jake Lauritsen of

West Fargo Advisor's group at 1241 Prairie Parkway for improvements recently made to the office building after lowering the minimum qualifying amount to $45,000 from $50,000 specified in the application. The West Fargo Assessment department initially recommended denial since the increase in valuation from the improvements did not increase the valuation of the building to the minimum of $50,000 necessary to qualify for the exemption. After hearing from Lauritsen and discussing the matter the board agreed to lower the amount which will now also apply to future requests;

-heard a Wastewater report from Public Works Director Barry Johnson on odor control methods and issues at the city lagoon. No action was taken, the plan will be studied and further discussion take place;

-following a public hearing approved first reading of the rezoning of Brooks Harbor 3rd Addition from agricultural to limited multiple dwellings. Brooks Harbor Development LLC made the request to plat and rezone the 2.25 acre parcel, located south of I-94 and west of Sheyenne Street, for four-unit townhouse style apartments;

-following a public hearing okayed a conditional use permit for 12-unit townhouse style apartments on Lot 2, Block 6 of Maple Ridge at the Preserve 1st Addition. Maple Ridge Estates LLC made the request for the 402,267 square foot parcel located north of 32nd Avenue and east of Sheyenne Street;

-granted a conditional use permit for an oversized accessory building for John and Amanda Thomas at 523 42nd Ave. W. The applicants want to build a detached accessory building larger than 1,600 square feet, requiring the need for a conditional use permit;

-didn't take any formal action but agreed they couldn't go along with a with a land use plan amendment from office park to general commercial for Casey's Retail Company who wanted to locate a convenience store and gas station on the corner of Prairie Parkway and 15th Avenue East on the south side of 13th Avenue. The land use plan depicts the property as office park which doesn't allow for the store and gas station, so the amendment was needed to change to general commercial. Business people across the way voice written opposition citing the increase in traffic and the fact there are already two gas stations in close proximity. The planning and zoning board denied the request at their Sept. 9 meeting saying that office uses are more appropriate for the property per the comprehensive plan and that office uses are also supported by area property owners. The commission raised concerns about increased traffic and the fact that residential is located in close proximity of the proposal. All commissioners said they would be very pleased to have a Casey's locate in West Fargo, just in a more suitable location. they urged staff to assist in finding another spot, if Casey officials so desire;

-heard a preliminary report from Liesch Associates, Inc., Minneapolis, on the final phase of a water study addressing the city's aquifer system and its well structure. The board took no action but agreed to form a committee to discuss options that would include assessing the rehabilitation of existing wells and the realization of new ones, as well as contacting the state water commission to start the permit process to put in additional wells. The report stated that the city can get by the next five years with the necessary rehabilitation of wells and longer term by the addition of six new wells over the next 15 years to keep up with demand. The committee will report back to the commission at a later date with additional information;

-awarded bids for five projects to the low bidders: Riley Brothers Construction, Inc., Morris, Minn., for phase I of Sewer Improvement District No. 1253, lagoon cell repairs, $1,132,840. The engineer's estimate was $2 million; RL Larson Excavating, Inc., St. Cloud, Minn., for Sewer, Water, Storm and Street Improvement District No. 1259, Shadow Creek Fifth Addition, $2,796,537.82. The engineer's estimate was $2,777,000; Ryan Development, Inc., Elko, Minn., for Sewer, Water, Storm and Street Improvement District No. 1262, West Creek First Addition, $1,070,169. The engineer's estimate was $1,100,000; Dakota Underground Company, Fargo, for Sewer, Water, Storm and Street Improvement District No. 1263, The Wilds 3rd and 4th Additions, $2,687,829.90. The engineer's estimate was $3,150,000; Avenia, Inc., Moorhead, for the area wide Fiber Optic Plan, $369,784.70. The engineer's estimate was $425,000. The city will provide and install Server Hardware for $35,677.47, and Centracs ATMS software in the amount of $93,750. to facilitate the Intelligent Transportation System installation making the total cost of the contract award $499,212.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the West Fargo City Commission will take place Monday, Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m. in the Commission Chambers at West Fargo City Hall, 400 8th Ave. E. All meetings are open to the public.