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Out with the old: Demolition begins on Sheyenne Street to make way for plaza

A sign from Sheyenne Appliance sits in the piles of rubble that remain in the 400 block of Sheyenne Street Friday, August 11, 2016, in West Fargo after crews demolished the buildings to make way for Sheyenne Plaza, a $12 million, 124,000-square-foot complex that will include a mix of residential and business space, with the potential to include a small city park or gathering space. It has been dubbed West Fargo's future downtown square. Dave Wallis / The Forum1 / 2
Piles of rubble are all that remain of a set of businesses in the 400 block of Sheyenne Street Friday, August 11, 2016, in West Fargo after crews demolished the buildings to make way for Sheyenne Plaza, a $12 million, 124,000-square-foot complex that will include a mix of residential and business space, with the potential to include a small city park or gathering space. It has been dubbed West Fargo's future downtown square. Dave Wallis / The Forum2 / 2

Wrecking balls started to swing down Sheyenne Street last week, clearing most of the 400 block to make room for the incoming Sheyenne Plaza building.

Construction, which includes demolition of a strip mall and the building that was the former home of Fish Shoppe, was expected to begin shortly after July 4. The discovery of asbestos pushed back the bulldozers' timeline, while developers waited for experts to clear the buildings of the dangerous material.

Although construction is underway, it won't interrupt West Fargo's popular Cruise Nights, which will be held Thursday, Aug. 18, and Sept. 15.

"They said on Cruise Nights, they'll stop at 1 p.m., just to get out of the way," said Matt Marshall, West Fargo director of economic development and community services.

Developer Todd Berning and his associates, who helped create Boulevard Square in south West Fargo where Spicy Pie is located, are building Sheyenne Plaza, a more than 124,000-square-foot $12 million complex in the 400 block of Sheyenne Street. In the 300 block, Berning plans to build a second, similar complex that will be named Pioneer Place.

Inside the Sheyenne Plaza, a five-story development with underground parking, the main floor will be comprised of office space and the new home of West Fargo VFW that is currently located at 308 Sheyenne St.

Marshall said a commons area inside the plaza is also planned to allow for public events, such as art showcases.

Sheyenne Plaza is expected to be finished by 2017, at which time the West Fargo VFW will move into the main floor space.

Berning said he is still in negotiations with local businesses that are considering moving into Sheyenne Plaza but the city's engineering firm, Moore Engineering, plans to move some employees into offices at Sheyenne Plaza.

"Moore Engineering is thrilled to be part of this development that will bring new energy and momentum to downtown West Fargo," Jeffry Volk, president and CEO of Moore Engineering, said in a news release. " Our company has outgrown its current space on Ninth Street, and Sheyenne Plaza is an ideal fit for us. We plan to move around 25 employees to the new office initially, with potentially more to follow as circumstances change."

Work will begin on Pioneer Plaza, once Sheyenne Plaza is finished next year. While Pioneer Plaza will take up most of the block, not all properties in the 300 block plan to move.

Off the Wall Advertising, 322 Sheyenne St., decided to remain where it is, and the Home Upholstery Shop is still in negotiations with the development group.

Marshall said instead of office space on the main floor of Pioneer Plaza, the space is expected to shift into room for multiple retail and eatery businesses to make the Plaza home.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and and at CBS Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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