Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

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272 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 ing restaurant and bar business in recent years, it became clearer than ever that there was a development opportunity for the right project. As motivation to add additional density for an event-driven downtown has grown, streetscape design guidelines, development strategies and a downtown master plan have all been completed. At the same time, Bismarck's profile as a city-on-the-rise has continued to grow. In many respects, Bismarck is ideally po- sitioned to take advantage of the dynamic state and regional growth resulting from the explosive development associated with the Bakken oil formation. Located on the very eastern edge of the Bakken oil play, Bismarck reaps the financial benefits of a thriving regional boom without the associated disruption. Already a popu- lar destination to visit, go out to dinner, and spend time with family and friends, Bismarck is also an increasingly popular place to put down roots for the influx of corporate employees, attorneys and engi- neers that have flocked to North Dakota in recent years. In some very important ways, the stage is set for a project like FiveSouth. cOMMunITy feel Strategically positioned between an ac- tive and increasingly vibrant main street shopping corridor and an existing regional mall, FiveSouth seems poised to take ad- vantage of its advantageous location. One of the ways in which it plans to accomplish that goal is by taking steps to ensure that the project conveys a true community feel. Backman says FiveSouth will have its own "distinctive and cohesive aesthetic identity," but will also be "seamlessly wo- ven into the city's urban core." An activated ur- ban streetscape with on-street parking, pe- destrian access and a walkable neighborhood vibe, FiveSouth will in- clude a number of new tree plantings and lush landscaping, as well as significant infrastructure improvement intended to promote a more walkable environment. Streets that were not originally designed to be conducive to pedestrian traffic and streetside dining have been reconfigured and rede- signed, and even the new parking decks have been thoughtfully tucked away: ac- cessible through pedestrian walkways, but not visually intrusive to the project. Pedestrian alley-way access to parking ar- eas will provide niche retail opportunities, and spaces for social interaction, engage- ment and programming will be featured prominently throughout. A stretch of Fifth Street between Sweet and Bowen Avenues is designed to be closed down to vehicle traffic for farmers markets, con- certs, fairs and other special events. To the west of the Events Center, an- other large open public space promises to add another layer to FiveSouth's ex- periential potential. CDG has set forth a proposal to convert that space into a public park that would serve the neigh- borhood and the adjacent Events Center. Together with the Fifth Street space, this entire area could function as a venue for programming and public events — as well as an outdoor exhibit space. Aesthetically, FiveSouth is designed to reflect the culture of Bismarck — a city on the edge of the true Western Plains. Stone, masonry and brick materials will be featured prominently, with contempo- rary wood, metal and glass accents. It's an aesthetic Übl describes as "cool and modern, with a cowboy edge." Urban and chic, but still a neighborhood and a community, FiveSouth aims to use local context and textures to strike a balance be- tween something that is comfortable and familiar, but also a step toward something new and exciting. The cenTer Of IT All Bismarck's status as a college town could also have an impact on the future of FiveSouth. The rapidly growing Uni- versity of Mary has expressed a desire to include student housing and other facili- ties as part of the project, possibly mov- ing the school's Health Sciences program downtown. With a number of medical fa- cilities downtown, including two hospitals (CHI St. Alexius Medical Center and San- ford Medical Center), such a move would seem to make logistical sense. Construction on the project's $200 mil- lion first phase is scheduled to begin in early 2016, with public improvement and parking deck construction followed short- ly by residential and retail components. With planning moving steadily forward and the project remaining on schedule to break ground next year, FiveSouth seems poised to fulfill its potential and become both a focal point and a catalyst for ad- ditional downtown development for years to come. SCB Cardon Development Group is planning FiveSouth, a mixed-use project featuring retail, restaurants, residential and hotel space, in downtown Bismarck. Master plan of FiveSouth, showing the different uses over the multi-block area.

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