Coming soon: Killdeer plans for massive investment this year

KILLDEER -- For the first 14 years as building inspector for the city of Killdeer, Ron Fettig worked part time. But for the past three years, he has been full time -- and his days are truly full.

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Killdeer building inspector Ron Fettig goes over maps of the four new developments planned for the city of Killdeer this year. In the past, $1 million in private investments was a big deal in a single year, but in 2015 he’s projecting the city will see at least $20 million in developments.

KILLDEER - For the first 14 years as building inspector for the city of Killdeer, Ron Fettig worked part time. But for the past three years, he has been full time - and his days are truly full.
Years ago, $1 million in private investment in the city for one year was a big deal, he said. Maybe a single new motel, or a few new houses.
But last year, Killdeer saw more than $20 million in private investment, and it’s on track to hit at least that for 2015. This spring will be a busy one for the city, with a slew of private residential or multi-use developments breaking ground.
The private developments include:

  • Gateway Village, with 70 townhomes, a Wyndham Microtel hotel, 125 apartments, a drive-thru food establishment and a sit-down restaurant.
  • Killdeer Highlands, three 42-unit apartment buildings and a hotel-restaurant combination. 
  • Creekside, more than 150 apartments in eight buildings with views of Gumbo Creek.
  • Killdeer 110, a mix of condominiums, townhomes and single-family homes.

Three of the projects will be adjacent to the east of Killdeer, and Gateway Village is due north, on the east side of Highway 22. The projects will be built in phases, and the city planning and zoning commission in some cases has only approved the first phase for this spring. “The whole landscape has changed,” city administrator Dawn Marquardt said.
She said despite anxiety over oil prices, the city is not seeing a slowdown - in traffic through town or in development. Killdeer is one of the last Bakken boomtowns to get its truck bypass, so tanker trucks still rumble through Central Avenue - the city’s main street and a part of state Highway 22 - past a pharmacy, banks, churches and the school.
A shift
The spring projects altogether show a shift from mobile homes and RV parks to a more permanent housing, with companies hoping to house not just oilfield workers but their families, too.
Developers are focusing on the long game now, planning for more permanent-style housing to attract families - with yards, walking paths, views - than the more basic housing reminiscent of the beginning of the boom, which only attracted the single workers whose real homes were elsewhere.
Three years ago, Killdeer Highlands developers saw the growth headed toward Killdeer and thought it’d be a good city for housing to bring in families that actually want to live there, said Jeremy Gray, with Dallas-based Gray and Company Realtors Inc.
“We know the price of oil will come back and we know there’s still such a need for residential and commercial development, especially in Killdeer,” he said.
Around that same time, in 2012, the developers of Gateway Village predicted Killdeer was likely going to be the latter of the three main core drilling areas, after Williston and Watford City.
They saw the need for temporary housing like the Wyndham Microtel going in, but also for apartments that provide “more permanent living … as opposed to little studios,” said Bob Ballard, the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based managing director of the project.
Ballard and his partner are in talks with two Mexican restaurant companies in Arizona that may occupy the restaurant space in the project.
“We are getting a tremendous amount of interest for every single aspect of the project,” he said.
In the public sector, too, the town has a lot to look forward to. City commissioners recently approved hiring JLG Architects to study and plan for a new city hall.
“We’ve just outgrown and we need to add staff,” specifically in planning and zoning and the human resources departments, Marquardt said.
An indoor swimming pool and wellness center will be bid this spring, at the site of the current outdoor swimming pool near Killdeer Public School. This Aquatics and Wellness Center, funded by the city sales tax, will include an indoor lap and leisure pool, a community room and exercise equipment, Fettig said. Also to be bid this spring is a new outdoor recreation area, with a baseball field, and basketball and tennis courts.
Ballard said builders for Gateway Village will likely build the housing first, sa that usually brings retail business afterward.
But, he said, “in Killdeer it wouldn’t matter which one you got first - they’d all be doing well.”
Lymn is a reporter for The Dickinson Press. Contact her at 701-456-1211.

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The site of the future Gateway Village multi-use development just north of Killdeer on the east side of Highway 22 is seen here on Feb. 20. This and three more large developments will break ground in Killdeer this spring.

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