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Big M renovation proceeds with new adjusted floor plans

Goal to complete project is end of year

Jill Schramm/MDN A crane removes the former M on top the M building in January to replace it with a replica of the building’s original M as part of ongoing renovation of the building.

EPIC Companies has adjusted its plans for the Big M building due to higher than expected costs of renovation.

The Minot City Council on Tuesday agreed to the changes as part of a previously approved Tax Increment Financing District. Under the TIF, a share of future taxes on improvements will go to finance the asbestos abatement and demolition expenses associated with the former bank and office building. The council approved the 20-year TIF in June 2022.

EPIC’s revision calls for conversion of the five lowest floors in the building to commercial and office space and the three highest floors to residential apartments. The previous plan included condominiums on the top two floors and commercial only on the first two floors, with apartments on floors three through six.

EPIC indicated to the city that its goal is to complete the project by the end of this year.

In a letter to the city, Chief Financial Officer Blake Nybakken said construction got off to a slower than anticipated state due to additional asbestos remediation that needed to be done. Costs came in higher than expected and more asbestos was discovered than previously identified, he wrote. The asbestos work finished in late 2023.

Brian Billingsley, the city’s economic and community development director, said EPIC’s amendments won’t impact the financial figures of the TIF district. Under the TIF, which impacts the city, school and park district, 90% of the tax on improvements would go to paying off the project bond debt and 10% would go to the taxing entities over the 20 years. Ward County approved an eight-year plan in which 100% of taxes on improvements would go toward the project.

“Adding more commercial space to the building should be able to help retire the bond debt at a quicker pace,” Billingsley told the council.

Separately, the council approved a second extension of an alcohol license associated with EPIC’s The Tracks project, which remains under construction in southwest Minot. M&S Concessions was the successful bidder on one of four new alcohol licenses in Minot in November 2021 and had a year to begin operations at The Tracks. Last fall, the council granted an extension to May 1 of this year because the building was not yet ready for occupancy.

M&S Concessions requested another extension to July 1, 2025, which the company believes offers plenty of leeway. M&S General Manager Jeff Senger said the expectation by EPIC is to have the building ready for occupancy this July. M&S has paid the license bid amount of about $100,000, along with the annual renewal fee, according to the city.

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