While many are stuck inside waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, work has continued on the Lights on Sheyenne 32 development near 32nd Avenue and Sheyenne Street South. A new restaurant and bar as well as a salon and nutrition and clothing shops are expected to open soon.

The city's first publicly owned parking ramp opened up last fall. The open plaza for entertainment that will be managed by nonprofit West Fargo Events is nearing completion with upcoming events tentatively planned, and the first of four mixed-use buildings is already accepting residential tenants and is on track to open to businesses May 1, if state-mandated business closures ease by then.

The first phase of the project, which includes four buildings, the parking ramp and plaza, carried a roughly $54 million price tag and is under construction on about 6.3 acres. The city officially took over the parking ramp earlier this year and has been working with Epic Properties and the school district for additional parking plans.

McKenzy Olson, vice president of marketing and public relations for Epic Properties, said they and West Fargo Events had planned to announce some exciting events for the plaza this summer on March 17, but the announcement was delayed due to the pandemic. Now, as landscaping and final details are finished at the plaza, Olson said events will be announced as they are deemed safe.

"Right now we are waiting to hear what happens with guidelines for opening up," Olson said. "We just really don't know right now; a lot of it is up in the air."

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Lights on Sheyenne 32's first building, Epic at the Lights, opened to residents on March 1.

"Tenants have been actively moving in," Olson said. "Commercial tenants are set to open May 1, depending on the government guidelines."

Epic at the Lights will be home to a new West Fargo bar and grill, Bar Down, which will be the anchor tenant, along with a women's clothing boutique, Lights Nutrition, Taylor Jane Photography and Amy Rose Salon.

The second building, called Echo at the Lights, is on track to open this fall, possibly in September or October, Olson said.

Echo at the Lights will be anchored by Bell Bank, which is also planning to reconstruct its building on north Sheyenne into an eight-story mixed-use building once the southern location is open. About 36 two-story residential buildings will also be available at Echo at the Lights. The second floor remains open for leasing at this time.

Olson said developers are hoping to secure a coffee-related business to utilize the area behind the large billboard that has a drive-thru space constructed.

Timelines for the construction of the third building on the west side of the development and the fourth building, which will be connected to the parking ramp, are currently tentative but could begin once the second building is finished later this fall.

"We're kind of waiting to see how things progresses," Olson said. "We're hoping that that is the case."

The Lights on Sheyenne 32 became a formal plan after the school district bought 13 acres of land on the corner of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue South to build what is now the West Fargo Sports Arena. School officials then joined forces with city staff and developers to create a master plan for that area that would include room for businesses and restaurants in one of the few commercial spots left in West Fargo.

Todd Berning and his associates, Epic Properties, headed the Sheyenne Plaza and Pioneer Place projects on the north end of Sheyenne Street and brought forward a plan to build a multi-building plaza that would be home to retail and restaurants, residential space, an open-air public pavilion and a large parking ramp on the northwest corner of Sheyenne Street and 32nd Avenue.