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The construction phase of the Watford City school complex. Photo: Watford City Real Estate Group.

Oil still drives development in Watford City

Even with the price of oil hovering around its 52-week lows, development in the Watford City, ND micropolitan area continues unabated. The vast majority of oil and gas produced in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale play is concentrated in four counties: Dunn, Mountrail, Williams and McKenzie counties. Seeking to maximize operational efficiency, the industry’s regional offices are tending to aggregate in, and surrounding, Watford City in McKenzie County, where more than one-third of the most efficient rigs are operating.

After years of declining population, Watford City appears to be on the rise, with efforts to attract the families of oil and gas workers looking for a permanent home in the Bakken region. Even the area’s per capita and household incomes are expected to grow by as much as 207% from 2010-2025

Called “the city that reinvests in itself,” Watford City has completed another massive construction season that boasts several high-profile projects, including a new high school, events center, medical complex, law enforcement center and a 9-hole addition to the municipal golf course.

Of the city’s many civic projects under construction, perhaps none ranks higher in importance than the new K-12 Watford City Elementary and High School. Now entering its final stages of construction, the state-of-the-art design features glass curtain walls and hydronic heated sidewalks.

The Final Pieces of the Puzzle

One of last critical platforms in Watford City’s growth-strategy framework calls for the participation of developers and investors with the vision to grow along with the community. One such opportunity is springing up at Fox Hills Village, a multi-use development opportunity that sits at the epicenter of North Dakota’s oil and gas industry. Adjacent to the school, events center, Fox Hills golf course and municipal airport, all city services are available at the site just south of Highway 23, one of the city’s main thoroughfares. Fox Hills Village is targeted for:

  • Apartments, hotels and multi-family residences
  • Single-family homes (minimum of 10 per builder)
  • A two-mile-long greenway of multi-use paths

Although Fox Hills Village and Estates may be the most ideally placed of Watford City Real Estate Group’s many development sites, it is by no means the only prime location.

Other multi-use developments like Stenehjem Commons are also now shovel-ready, with roadways, streetlights and infrastructure (sewer, water, and storm) now complete. Available sites are just steps from the intersection of Business Highway 85 and the new North Dakota Highway 23 Bypass, the second busiest intersection in North Dakota.

Watford City Real Estate Group is the leading real estate brokerage and advisory service in McKenzie County. With listings in lots & land, commercial property, residential homes and master-planned communities including Stenehjem Commons, it specializes in matching the right piece of ground with the right developer and or investor to produce a successful project. In addition to Stenehjem Commons, Watford City Real Estate Group represents Fox Hills Village and Estates, Johnson’s Landing, South 40 and others.

In related news, Watford City barrels through downturn in oil economy.


  1. That’s where I have been doing dirt work for the last 2 summers

  2. When’s Walmart coming to watford city

  3. Boom n Bust reality, some dont get it until its too late!!

  4. It’s not bust, just not giving ridiculous amounts of money to unskilled workers now

    Plently people are still working

    • Yeah like rig managers working motors and drillers scrubbing the water tank. When your company goes from 38 rigs to 5 it really doesn’t matter how much skill you have. I’m sure there is probably a few of the 400 thousand laid off that might have some skills. Idiotic comment.

    • They actually get rid of the highest paid around here. Doesn’t matter who you are.

  5. Well… I would consider these big projects as money already spent before the bust.


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