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Elks Building still not ready

Construction continues Tuesday at the historic Elks Building in downtown Dickinson.

The renovation of Dickinson's historic Elks Building drags on.

Project heads said last month that they hoped to have a certificate of occupancy by now, but now contractors -- many from out of town -- have to come back for more work based on findings from the latest walkthroughs by the City of Dickinson and its fire department.

The inspectors tasked developers with "a lot of small stuff but it kinda adds up so it just takes time," said Dave Maurer, who is overseeing construction for the historic downtown Dickinson building.

Because of the uncertainty of contractors' schedules, Maurer couldn't put a timeline on a final inspection or completion of the project, which has dragged on nearly a decade.

Working with contractors from all over busy western North Dakota and even from out of state, getting them back for last-minute fixes can be a lengthy process, he said.

"They have to get us in their schedule to get back out here," he said. "Relying on people to come back has been challenging."

But the inspectors' findings are typical for a project like this, Maurer said.

One of the last big tasks -- replacing a valve in the street -- was completed recently, said John Hunt, who represents one of the investors that recently injected new money into the project.

The work left to do is mostly "punch list-type things," Hunt said. "I wouldn't categorize any of them as material."

Granville "Beaver" Brinkman, who was hired by the city in 2004 to develop the building with ambitious renovation plans, is still involved but to a lesser extent as a minority owner among a handful of investors now financing the project. The project has suffered numerous delays and setbacks and was originally supposed to be completed as early as 2007.

AE2S, a Dickinson engineering firm currently working in the basement of the Advanced Vision Center building, is the sole confirmed tenant of the building.

But Hunt said developers have not truly marketed the vacancies yet and won't until have a concrete move-in date.

"We've kinda just been in a holding pattern on our marketing plan just because we haven't wanted to get the cart before the horse," he said.

The developers have heard interest from potential tenants, mostly professional services firms, Hunt said.

The entire second floor of the building was designed and built for the local Ebeltoft and Sickler law firm, but they backed out and pursued other space.

Deon Stockert, head of AE2S's Dickinson office, has already ordered the furniture for the firm's space in the building.

"I think we're pretty close," he said.