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The empty Starbucks sits on South Washington after the company relocated the store a mile north on DeMers and Washington. (Joshua Komer/Grand Forks Herald)

Number of commercial properties for sale in Grand Forks not uncommon, realtors say

The number of commercial properties for sale in Grand Forks isn't unusual compared to other years, but those looking to buy appear to be taking more time to close the deal this year, real estate agents said.

The Grand Forks Board of Realtors listed 22 commercial properties for sale in Grand Forks and four in East Grand Forks as of Thursday. There were 41 spaces listed for lease in Grand Forks and one in East Grand Forks, according to the board.

To have that many buildings for sale is on par with previous years, brokers who spoke to the Herald said.

"If you are looking year over year, it is fairly similar to what 2016 was," said Michael Marcotte, a co-owner of Century 21 Red River Realty said.

The numbers only reflect brokers who are members of the Grand Forks Board of Realtors, so there could be more commercial properties for sale in the city.

For example, the Macy's space at Columbia Mall is not listed in the board's report.

There is a lot of movement in Grand Forks' commercial market, said Laurie Tweten, broker and co-owner of Coldwell Banker Forks Real Estate. Some buildings sit for years without interest while others are picked off the market quickly, she added. Then there are the buildings she would expect to sell quickly but draw little interest while ones that have been on the market for years are selling.

"When a building comes up for sale, if you have the right use for it, they typically sell pretty quickly," Marcotte said. "If it is something that is limited use, limited space, they take a little longer to move off the market."

The empty Ponderosa restaurant at 1800 S. Washington St. was on the market for 10 years before it was demolished this spring to make way for a Sonic restaurant. Dakota Harvest Bakers was on the market for roughly 14 months before it was purchased in March for Half Brothers Brewing Co.

Tweten said people are hesitant not so much because they are less confident in the market. They are just waiting to see how economic changes affect the market, she said.

"They are being more selective and they are taking more time, which isn't always a bad thing," she said. "I don't think we have an extraordinary amount commercial properties for sale compared to other years, but I think it is atypical for the days on the market."

Various factors play into how fast commercial buildings are sold and there is no definite way to classify Grand Forks' market, Tweten said.

"You just can't say a blanket statement because it is not something across the board," she said.

Here are a few commercial properties for sale and lease.

Macy's

The store that closed in March had been an anchor tenant for Columbia Mall since 2006, taking over from the original tenant, Dayton's. Macy's shut its doors after the corporation announced it would close 100 stores nationwide to help "streamline its store portfolio, intensify cost efficiency efforts and execute its real estate strategy" amid declining in-store sales.

The department store is one of the larger commercial listings on the market in the city at 99,188 square feet. Macy's said it plans to sell the location but has been hesitant to reveal details beyond that.

The listing price has not been disclosed.

"Macy's does not comment on rumors or speculation," Macy's spokeswoman Jacqueline King wrote in an email. "We also are unable to discuss our real estate plans for any stores outside of our flagships. When we have announcements to make, we will make them."

The space was assessed at $6.18 million in 2016.

Minnkota Power

Minnkota Power Cooperative still occupies the 113,760-square-foot building at 1822 Mill Road in Grand Forks, but not for much longer.

The Grand Forks-based electric cooperative will move into a 250,000-square-foot building near the Interstate 29 and 32nd Avenue South, with plans to be out of the north location by the end of the year, Minnkota spokesman Kevin Fee said.

It is listed at $7.9 million with multiple realty agencies.

Starbucks

A coffee giant's move to a busier intersection in Grand Forks left one building closed.

Starbucks moved out of its 2,400-square-foot location at 1217 S. Washington St. to the bigger and busier building at 623 S. Washington, the former home of Dickey's Barbecue Pit. The new location has been hopping since it opened in mid spring, but that has left the building to the south empty.

The once-busy location is now listed for $797,000.

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