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Killdeer plans for hotel to take place of ball diamond

To ease the crunch Killdeer is feeling due to increased oil and gas activity in the area, city officials are working with development companies to construct a motel.

"It's been talked about for probably two years," Killdeer city auditor Dawn Marquardt said recenlty. "I think a lot of people probably didn't believe it would happen."

Developers have shown interest in about seven acres of city-owned property along Highway 22 where a baseball diamond is, she said. The plan is to sell the land for $250 an acre to the developer that has presented what city commissioners deem the best fitting project for the city, Marquardt said.

"It's not so much for long-term housing, but just basically for tourists, hunters and the workers obviously," Commissioner Anita Mjolhus said. "What I've noticed in my business is the amount of tourists that came through town looking for a one- or two-night accommodation and there just is nothing available."

Commissioners recently put out a request for proposals for a motel and two developers, Northfields Development and Sunflower Lodge, responded.

Commissioners plan to decide on a proposal at their 5 p.m. Monday meeting, Mjolhus said.

Todd Morse, president of Sunflower Lodge, said he is interested in building in the area because the company already owns a motel there -- the Mountain View Motel.

"We do have people that stay there that would be willing to move larger groups of people from other areas there if there was more availability," Morse said. "We are probably doing a little better than 60 rooms, with the possibility to add onto it as well, as the need fits."

He estimates a project of that size to cost about $2 million.

"We're trying to build it so that we can build it up and pull back as we need to," Morse said.

James MacKenzie, founder and chief executive officer of Northfields Development, said his company wants to build a Legend Hotel and Lodge.

"We are intending to build 54 extended stay rooms," MacKenzie said. "Our facility is designed to provide services for the city of Killdeer and also house the workforces."

The project would include a restaurant and he estimates the project to cost about $5.4 million.

"We think Killdeer is a strategic location for us," MacKenzie said. "We're very excited about Killdeer and we would very much like to be a part of that community."

Both companies plan to look for other options in the area if the city does not award them the project.

Mjolhus would like to see the project start in the spring and operational by fall.

"The first thing that would have to happen is the ball diamonds would have to be moved and that would happen immediately this spring," she said, adding it shouldn't disrupt activities. "We're thinking we could get the ball diamonds up and back in place before June or July, before they would need it."

The cost to relocate the diamonds will be about $100,000, Marquardt said. The city plans to work with developers to help cover some of that cost, she added.

"You're taking away the current baseball diamond, but at the same time, you'll get an updated, better field and you can have more facilities there -- restrooms, concessions, things like that -- that will be added," Marquardt said.

The Monday public meeting is at Killdeer City Hall, 165 Railroad St. SE.