With the real estate market in North Dakota heating up, at least one major firm had to move into a bigger office space in Minot.
Century 21 moved into its new location at 500-20th Avenue SW over last Christmas weekend but hosted two grand openings this past week. During the first, on Wednesday, company officials welcomed their business partners and associates and on Thursday they held their public grand opening, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and all.
"If you have more people moving here we also, then, have more need for agents. I needed more agents. We used to have 12 agents and now we have 38," said Dorothy Martwick, the broker and co-owner along with seven others in the office of the Century 21 location.
She started with the company in 1993 when she was hired on as an office manager. An accountant by previous profession, she said that she "kind of fell into" her role as a broker and co-owner.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the population of North Dakota has grown over three times the speed of nation in general between April 2010 and July 2013, the most recent estimate available. Much of that is the fact that workers are flocking to the western half of the state for work.
"We cover all aspects of real estate and we cover all of northwest North Dakota. My agents are up in Stanley, Tioga, Williston all the time," Martwick said, adding that they don't just sell homes but "do development, new construction, commercial" work, as well.
An additional agent lives in Bottineau to serve the Lake Metigoshe market.
Martwick said the building was much needed but the delay between the move in date and the grand opening perfectly shows the changes in the northwestern North Dakota market.
"We moved here thinking our building was going to be done, but, of course, in Minot nothing gets done on time anymore just because it's so hard to get the contractors, sub-contractors, everything done on a timely manner," she said. "So we moved while it was still under construction because we had given that up and the new tenant was moving in."
Their new space, although built sometime in the 1950s, she thinks, seems brand new.
The space, which is owned in a "condo situation" in a building they share with State Farm Insurance, has a new front that was put in last fall and sports new paint and what appear to be new carpets. Along the main hallway that spans the length of the building the company's national slogan "Faster. Bolder. Smarter." is painted on the walls in large lettering between office doors leading up to a conference room.
In the back, on Wednesday, was a bit of a party room set up in the storage garage with free appetizers and drinks to their guests in celebration of the new location.
The move wasn't made just for the need of additional space, though, but also that their old location didn't embody the values of their industry.
"We were renting over there, we were leasing, and, you know, we sell real estate so for us to be leasing real estate was counter productive," she said. "We preach ownership to people, to own their own home. So, why would we live in a rented office? It didn't make sense."