West Ridge is a 1,000-acre development sprawling along three miles of Interstate 94 in the northwest corner of Dickinson, North Dakota. The size and scope of the project parallels the size and scope of business development represented in western North Dakota for Roers.
North Dakota Roots
Roers’ presence in North Dakota dates back to 1976, when founder and current CEO Jim Roers started it out as a simple construction company called Roers Construction. Over the past 30 years, however, Roers has been on a widening trajectory of sorts. The company now operates on the full spectrum of major property-related services, providing not only construction but property management, real estate brokerage, and at the forefront, development.
Today, Roers balances multiple multimillion dollar projects of varying scopes and purposes and has helped contribute over $150 million in annual gross sales to its home state’s economy. The company pays over $15 million in wages to its employees spread across the four divisions.
The “tip of the spear” is the development division that brings in new projects for the related companies. Leading the development division is Larry Nygard, a former CPA with 30 years-worth of experience in property development. After joining Roers as its Vice President in 2007, the company has become one of the major developers in the Bakken region.
Entering the Bakken
The company’s entry into western North Dakota came after extensive research during the early activity in 2007 and 2008. “We were familiar with the traditional cycles of the oil industry having friends who experienced trying times in the 1980’s,” explained Nygard. “We concluded that this time was different than the past and were ready to commit to this market.”
The first opportunity presented itself in Dickinson in 2010 with the acquisition of the 80-acre States Addition that was leftover from the 70’s and 80’s boom and bust. Roers completed the horizontal development and participated in the vertical as well. The development included 120 single family homes, four 4-unit townhomes, and over 300
Roers was able to leverage against capacity in Fargo when necessary to keep projects on time and on budget. As anyone who has successfully completed projects in the Bakken region knows, once you demonstrate that you can perform, you build a reputation and opportunities will emerge.
What emerged were larger opportunities and expansion into other Bakken markets including Minot, Bismarck, Williston, and Sidney and Glendive, Montana.
West Ridge Master Plan
West Ridge is a multi-use master planned development including light industrial, retail and office commercial, multi-family and single family residential construction. The land was acquisitioned in 2011 with multi-phase construction underway the following year.
With a region on the rise, every available space was planned to meet its demands. In addition to its four apartment complexes, West Ridge also houses a strip mall, four hotels, big box retailers like Menards and several mid box retailers, financial centers and a SpartanNash grocery store, either already opened and running or soon-to-be-opened by fall of this year.
While much has been accomplished, significant space remains available for builders and developers along the full spectrum of land-uses. In 2015, the company kicks off a major commercial and industrial development on the new exit 56 along I94. Plans call for a major truck stop to be started and will be home to many businesses poised to meet the trucking demand of the Bakken. The company has also secured a complementary piece of land for future development across the interstate to the south known as Duck Creek.
Having committed to the region and established themselves as a performer in a challenging market, Roers expanded further into the Bakken region including Minot and Williston, North Dakota.
Ground was broken in August of 2012 on the construction of Southgate, a 50-acre $109 million-project that created 350 multi-family residential units, under the management of Minot-based IRET, 70 extended stay housing units, and retail space of 180,000 square feet.
Retailers and restaurants include the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, Gordmans, Cash Wise Grocery, Petco, Shoe Carnival and a host of smaller retailers. Southgate was developed in collaboration with Oppidan Development of Minnesota and the development is sold out.
Williston and Beyond
Like Southgate and West Ridge, the 128-acre Fairhills project in Williston is a mixed-use project but without an industrial component. There is C-2 general commercial available with a SpartanNash grocery store already planned. All of the R-3 is sold and planned for construction during 2014. All of the R-2 has been sold with about 100 single-family lots remaining available to builders.
The company has also secured a site in Bismarck, North Dakota for development targeted more to the white collar effects of the energy development. Roers plans to develop an office building and hotel site near the MDU campus in northwest Bismarck.
Roers, of course, does not limit itself strictly to North Dakota. It has left its imprint around Minnesota and South Dakota with projects ranging from churches to academic halls to county courthouses. More recently, Roers has gone into Montana where they will be erecting hotels and restaurants in both Sidney and Glendive..
The time spent working in and developing the land in North Dakota has given them uncommon familiarity with its changes and challenges. The company has learned a lot and evolved through their experiences in the Bakken region. “You have to change as you go,” explained Nygard. “Western North Dakota requires thinking outside the box.”
Roers has demonstrated they have what it takes to evolve and be successful in this challenging new frontier and plans to continue its development in the region.