By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer
As oil activity presses forward, residential and commercial development in Watford City continues to go vertical. With 2013’s permitting activity staying roughly on par with what transpired in 2012, the city expects even more residential housing, as well as commercial properties, to come on line in 2014.
According to Steve Williams, Watford City’s Code Enforcement officer, things are starting to happen in Watford City.
“A lot of the development process that began in 2012 came on line in 2013,” states Williams.
Williams states that it took a while for the city to build momentum with regard to both residential and commercial developments. Infrastructure was a big hold-up, but so was the issue of finding land, securing subcontractors and finalizing planning.
According to Williams, in 2013 a lot of residential and commercial properties were completed, and a lot were started. Which means that more is on the way in the coming year.
“More single family homes and duplexes came on line this year,” states Williams. “Which is kind of what the city has been waiting for.”
The new residential homes that have opened for families are located in the Bison Ridge and Dakota Ridge housing developments north of Watford City, which the city annexed in 2013. The Pheasant Ridge and Prairie Heights developments and the Jordahl Patio Homes also became open for occupancy.
In addition to a number of single-family homes, Williams states that two hotels opened for business this year, the Little Missouri Hotel and Teddy’s Residential Inn & Suites. There was also a 42-plex apartment building and the Fox Hills Apartment complexes, which has two 32-unit rental apartments, most of which are two-bedroom apartments.
“There were a number of commercial properties that came on line in 2013,” states Williams.
In the South Park Plaza Development, Cash Wise Grocery Store, Cash Wise Liquor, Alco, and China Express, all opened for business.
Also during the summer, Farmers Union Oil and OK Tire Co. opened on the current Highway 23 Bypass. And most recently, a Subway, located near the Little Missouri and Teddy’s Residential Inn & Suites, opened for business in Watford City, as did the new Red Wing store and Z Wireless in South Park Plaza.
Construction was also completed on the new Reservation Telephone Cooperative building in November. Though a lot came on line in 2013, Williams states there is still more to come.
“Many projects were started this year that will not be completed until 2014,” states Williams.
Those projects include Tractor Supply Co. and Saddle Up Western Wear, both near completion and located in the South Park Plaza.
“The new Montana-Dakota Utilities building located on the west side of the city, is currently under construction,” states Williams. “And the city started remodeling its City Hall building, which is near completion, along with the city’s new Emergency Services Complex, located next to the Watford City Post Office.”
In addition, Williams states that McKenzie County began remodeling its County Courthouse building this year, and it is slated for completion in 2014.
In the Emerald Ridge multi-family home development, on County Road 35 and 14th Avenue, 10 foundations have been laid and are sitting in the ground, according to Williams. Watford City Square, on the north side of Watford City, is also under construction.
“Watford City Square has three buildings under construction. The two buildings that face north Main Street will be a work/live situation, while the building behind the work/live buildings is completely residential,” states Williams. “They have three buildings under construction in Phase I. There will be additional duplexes in Phase I at the far east of the property.”
As the city continues to grow and developments continue to pour in, Williams states the Building and Planning Department has a continued concern for the amount of green space and parking space within the Watford City city limits.
“All subdivisions are required to set aside land for both green space and parking,” states Williams. “But with the price of land, it is difficult.”
One of the biggest issues facing the city currently is space for truck parking.
“Trucks are parking all along the newly-paved streets in the South Park Plaza development and near Farmers Union Oil/Cenex and OK Tire,” states Williams. “We will be posting ‘No Truck Parking’ in that area in the coming year.”
Williams states that the city is trying to stay ahead of the curve. But as developments continue to come on line and the city continues to grow, Watford City will feel the growing pains for a while.