Work is underway on what will be one of the largest buildings in West Fargo — but who will call it home is still a question.
Developers 4 Suns LLP and Forum Communications Co. started work on a 202,500-square-foot distribution facility northwest of the Main Avenue and Ninth Street East intersection earlier this year, and recently broke ground on a second, smaller building south of the site.
Paul Amundson, director of real estate development for Forum Communications Co., said building a distribution space on the land made sense, as many companies, including large national companies, have been searching for more space.
Companies like Amazon that offer online retail and services have made headlines searching for distribution space to keep up with online business and shipping.
“There is a growing need for distribution space because of the way retail has changed,” he said.
4 Suns Partner Levi Arneson said the exterior walls of the larger building will be finished soon but interior concrete will not be poured until a tenant is secured. Arneson said developers plan to find one tenant for the building, but it could be leased by two tenants.
“Until we have a direction, we’re going to hold off on fitting the inside up,” Arneson said.
“Preferably it would be a single-tenant user, but with it being such a large building, we’d be comfortable having a second there. We don‘t foresee it being more than two though.”
Arneson said they are looking nationally, which could include big-name businesses or smaller regional companies.
Arneson told the West Fargo City Commission in May that the development would be valued at $30 million to $35 million.
Amundson said Forum Communications Co. has owned the land for the past 80 years. The majority of the parcel was zoned as agriculture, although a small area right along Main Avenue served as the former radio tower site for WDAY AM Radio.
The transmitter site, which looked like a small white and red house, at the intersection of Ninth Street East and Main Avenue was torn down in early 2019. Although it appeared residential, the building, which was built before 1930, once served as the WDAY Radio studios and housed transmission equipment.
WDAY AM radio first hit the airwaves in 1922, during a time when stations east of the North Dakota border used call letters that began with a W. The West Fargo site was the station’s transmitter site from 1928 until 2013.
“The land has been basically unused since,” Amundson said.
The second building, which will be south of the larger facility, will be a 63,000-square-foot building that can house up to four tenants with dock-high access on the north side of the building.
Due to i’s highly visible location in the city’s Renaissance Zone on Main Avenue , one of West Fargo’s main thoroughfares, the city asked developers to ensure the building be designed with at least 50 percent non-metal facade, which Arneson agreed to.
“That building has a little more curb appeal,” Arneson said. “I’m hesitant to call it a strip mall, because it’s not a strip mall with barber shops. It will be more of an industrial strip mall."
Arneson said the smaller building could be ready for move-in by June 2020.
The larger building should be move-in ready by March 1.