It was a ground-breaking event for North Hill when executives with MarketPlace Foods and Nash Finch gathered with shovels in a hayfield at 16th Street and 21st Avenue Northwest Wednesday.
For years, residents on North Hill have desired a neighborhood grocery. At a ceremonial ground-breaking for North Hill Center Wednesday, that dream moved closer to reality.
"This dream is going to be a spectacular one," said Keith Johanneson, president of Johanneson Companies, owner of MarketPlace Foods. "In two or three years, I think we are going to see North Hill in a whole different light."
Jill Schramm/MDN • Keith Johanneson, president of Johanneson Companies, throws out a shovel of dirt along with other company, city and Chamber of Commerce representatives Wednesday. The ground-breaking ceremony precedes the start of construction on a North Hill grocery and retail and housing project.
The plan as presented to the city council last year is to build a grocery with liquor and dollar stores and a gas station. The property also would include a 120-unit apartment constructed over commercial space for 22 retail or office tenants. Twin homes would be built north of 23rd Street Northwest. The project is estimated to create 150 housing units in total.
MarketPlace Foods officials made the decision a year ago to construct a grocery in north Minot after seeing the need during the 2011 flood. That need has grown with an explosion in housing development on the city's north side in the past year.
Rich Johanneson, a partner in MarketPlace Foods, noted how a year ago, the company was operating a grocery out of a tent on North Hill to serve residents cut off from services on the south side. The tents were back again but to serve lunch to a crowd that gathered to celebrate the ground-breaking with the company.
Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman said the grocery and retail outlets will complement the new housing.
"This is really great news for this side of town," Zimbelman said. "To have the grocery store up here is really the key to any kind of neighborhood."
Keith Johanneson said the addition of the store should bring MarketPlace to about 1,000 employees in Minot. MarketPlace already operates three grocery stores in south Minot and a fourth in Arrowhead Shopping Center.
"We are pleased to be a big part of Minot," Johanneson said "We have constantly reinvested in the community and we will continue to do that."