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Veterans Boulevard hub of activity

Boulevard Square is earmarked for mixed use development including both apartments and office space, with Spicy Pie already a committed tenant. David Samson / Forum News Service1 / 5
The future home of Holy Cross Catholic Church and elementary school will be locating off of West Fargo’s busiest corridor. David Samson / Forum News Service2 / 5
Upscale apartments on the corner of 31st Avenue will feature a number of amenities including underground parking. David Samson / Forum News Service3 / 5
Taco Bell sits on a high profile corner across from Costco. David Samson / Forum News Service4 / 5
Work is presently underway on the Gate City Bank location expected to open as the signage says in the spring of 2014. David Samson / Forum News Service5 / 5

When all is said and done with the frantic development that is currently going on, Veterans Boulevard in West Fargo is going to pretty much have it all, making it conveniently easy for residents to find whatever they need to shop for along the bustling corridor.

The roadway officially opened in August of 2009 as an extension of 9th Street East, with the name changing to Veterans Boulevard at 19th Avenue South.

West Fargo Mayor Rich Mattern remembers that day well as he and Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker were the first to drive over the new overpass that is the connecting link, with West Fargo on the west side and Fargo on the east side of the roadway.

At that time, Mattern described the action as a "very historic occasion that has been in the works for at least eight years. It has been a long time coming and I'm usually not at a loss for words, but this is mind boggling," Mattern said referencing the opportunity for retail expansion that would be presented along the Interstate route.

Little did he know how fast that expansion would occur.

"I remember the day that Mayor Walaker and I drove down Veterans Boulevard as part of a ribbon cutting for the new bridge crossing the Interstate," he stated Tuesday morning. "At that time, there wasn't much development on the West Fargo side. What a difference four years later. Many homes have been built and many businesses opened and it looks like that trend will continue, especially because of all the new schools. I anticipated growth, but not as rapidly as it has. There have been some challenges with the growth, but I consider them to be "good" challenges. I'd rather see growth and a good economy than a bad economy and losing population."

With its four-year anniversary now history, construction continues at a fast and furious pace featuring a variety of new commercial, service, retail and living opportunities.

Entities that will soon be laying out the welcome mat include:

Taco Bell

Located on the corner across from Costco at 815 23rd Ave. E., the business is owned by Cameron Dunafon, Columbia, Missouri, who also has the other four Taco Bell franchises in the metro area. It is similar in structure and design to the others and is expected to open in mid-October.

Holy Cross Catholic Church

A bus barn is currently in place and plans will be moving forward with a picnic shelter at their new parish location at south of 26th near Bluestem and 7th.The bus barn is currently being used to host a weekly Daily Bread program in partnership with the Dorothy Day house where food is available and distributed to people in need. Volunteers man the barn distributing groceries to individuals on Monday and Wednesday at 3 p.m. Once the rafters for the picnic shelter arrive, members of the Knights of Columbus and the Men's Group at the church will be tackling the picnic shelter project and seeing it through.

Spring of 2014 parish officials intend to break ground on the site for the social hall and church offices and for Trinity Elementary School. Once the social hall is constructed the church will move its congregation to the site where they will worship in the hall until the church proper is realized. December of 2015 is being viewed as the completion date for this part of the project.

Boulevard Square

Located on Blue Stem Drive and 31st Avenue the parcel features a multi-use complex with 66 apartments on three stories and lower level office space, that will include smaller restaurants and other businesses. One tenant already committed to the building is Spicy Pie, and another bar-restaurant facility will also be locating there with their identity yet to be disclosed. The site will also offer two patio areas. The medium to high end apartments will be contemporary in style with two and three bedroom offerings. The first phase of apartment living is expected to open in January 2014 and the second in February.

Upscale Apartments

Adams Development, is constructing an upscale 336-unit apartment complex on over three acres under one roof, on the corner of 31st Avenue East, directly across from Gate City. between 26th and 31st Avenue. The units will feature two and three bedroom apartments. The plan is to get the whole building enclosed by this winter and then to open up certain parts in phases during the winter months. Amenities will include 400 underground parking spaces, a swimming pool, hot tub, community center, and exercise equipment.

Cambria Suites and Conference Center

Work is going strong on West Fargo's newest hotel and first full-service meeting complex, the Cambria Suites Hotel and Convention Center located at 19th Ave. E. and Beaton Drive. The plans include a four-story, 103 all-suite hotel, connected to a 15,000 square feet conference center with meeting space to accommodate 400 people. Developers are Kevin and Aaron Johnson, of KAJ Hospitality. The facility is set to open in the spring of 2014.

A Blarney Stone Restaurant is also going to be located on the site.

Element Hotel

Directly across 9th Street to the east at 925 19th Ave. E. will be the 130-unit Element Hotel by Westin , feature a swimming pool and outside courtyard. A restaurant, yet to be determined, will be situated adjacent to the hotel. West Fargo resident Kyle Newman is the project developer. An October 2014 completion date is being earmarked.

High Point Networks Inc.

Work is in full swing on the new 24,000 square foot corporate office building for High Point Networks, a provider of voice and data network solutions, at 728 E. Beaton Dr., along I-94 next to Titan Machinery. KLJ Engineers has publicly announced they will be utilizing 6,500 square feet on the first first level and Titan Machinery will be occupying the remainder of the first level space. The estimated move in date for the facility is October of this year.

Red River Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services

A new funeral home is in the works south of 32nd Avenue. Red River Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Service is the name of the business, owned by Robbie Norman and Tracy Boschert, who also presently own and operate a funeral home in Fergus Falls. Construction is presently underway on the facility with an estimated opening of Spring 2014.

Norman said they are "very happy to be locating their business in West Fargo and looking forward to being a part of and serving the community as well as the entire metro area and surrounding communities."

On the Drawing Board

Other businesses and projects being discussed and proposed as part of the imminent development action include a Gate City Bank Branch, presently under construction on the corner of 31st Avenue; a Biolife branch in Charleswood in proximity of the Cambria Suites; a Casey's General Store, earmarked for directly west of the Pioneer Center on 13th Avenue; a Senior Living Facility south of 32nd Avenue; and a small strip mall area near but not connected to the Taco Bell site in Market Place at the Preserves.

Senior City Planner Tim Solberg who is caught up in the swing of things said all in all what is happening in these areas is a "really good mix. We know what the land use plan calls for and are trying to stick to that plan. We are following Larry's (Weil, longtime city planning director) lead and it is very exciting to watch our community grow. A lot of thought was put into the land use plan and that is setting the tone for useage. We are combining everything as we go so people can get the services they need in their whole area. The city, parks, schools and developers have been really working together and we are really going to have a good addition to our community down there in an area that is literally growing right before our eyes."