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American Bank Center to remodel downtown Dickinson building

American Bank Center plans to remodel the second floor of 28 First St. W. in Dickinson, pictured above Thursday, for the bank's office space. The project, which includes a makeover of 2,700 square feet, will be done through the North Dakota Renaissance Zone Program.

American Bank Center plans to use the North Dakota Renaissance Zone Program to remodel a downtown building.

The project will include remodeling 2,700 square feet of the second floor of 28 First St. W. in Dickinson into office space for the bank's use.

Steve Josephson, Dickinson city planner, said his office has been in collaboration with American Bank Center to get an exemption for the project.

"The city of Dickinson has a Renaissance Zone that was approved a number of years back," he said. "I did go out to the site with our city assessor. We were hoping to have a draft of the true value, but have not been able to get that yet."

Josephson had full support from the city Planning and Zoning Board to recommend the project application to the City Commission.

The project proposal was approved by the Planning and Zoning Board on Wednesday at its monthly meeting at city hall.

The project now has to go before City Commission for final approval.

The project will include updating the existing electrical and mechanical systems, adding a sprinkler system and to provide for handicapped accessibility on the second floor of the building.

The brief project description that was submitted with the project application indicates the exterior of the building, which was built in 1903, will remain intact, while the interior will be redesigned to be similar to the bank's current interior.

The entire project, including mechanical, electrical and structural work, is estimated to cost $765,000, according to the program application.

The renovation is also expected to be completed with local contractors.

According to the North Dakota Department of Commerce, the Renaissance Zone Program is meant for commercial rehabilitation, meaning the repair or remodel of a building that is equal to or exceeds 50 percent of the current true and full value of the commercial building, so that it is up to building codes and standards.

Ed Courton, Community Development Director for Dickinson, hopes this will be the start of a revitalization push among the businesses downtown.

"This is hopefully the start a focus on our plan to renovate the downtown area, which is part of our city vision plan," he said.

Commissioner Gene Jackson said it is a great way to bring focus back to the downtown area.

"I wish more businesses would use this program," he said. "These may seem like small projects, but they help to make a greater use of the downtown."