January 17 Downtown E-News

The Downtowners’

City Center Newsletter


January 17, 2013

What You Will Find…

□ Cowan Building Updates Approved

□ Downtown Updates

□ Upcoming Events

□ Association News


Cowan Building Activity Approved

Landmark on 4th and Broadway to Get Renovation…

It’s tall, as Downtown Bismarck buildings go, five stories plus a basement.  It’s skinny, only 25 feet wide, yet an entire half block long.  The Cowan Building on the corner of 4th and Broadway is a unique structure in the fabric of Downtown.  The original building, only two stories tall and built about a century ago, still exists under the additional floors added in the 1950s.  All of these factors, the shape, age, and renovation, have made this building a head scratcher for developers.  Member Loran Galpin, who’s managing the renovation, has had his share of challenging building renovations.  One of the most challenging being the Civic Square building, what people often refer to as the “old Front Page” building on Main Ave.  It had laid in decay for decades, empty, and vegetation growing out of the upper floor.  It was worth $500.  Today, through Loran’s work and city incentives, it has become a bright spot in adaptive reuse development Downtown.

Loran has been instrumental in starting the same process with the Cowan Building.  As the project manager, Loran has secured assistance in programs to get the sidewalk subsurface in filled.  This was one of the key issues which held the building renovation back.  Underneath many of the sidewalks Downtown are empty vaults that the city considers a potential hazard and require in fill.  The initial plan about a year ago, looked at having a mix of market-rate housing and commercial space.  With the train noise however, residences would be scratched from the plans.  Now that Quiet Rail is in the near future and the train noises mostly eliminated, housing may again be considered for this highly visible corner.  The bunkers of plantings, which lie over the vault, will be removed and most likely converted to loading zone for tenet accessibility. New windows, electrical, plumbing, an entire gut and remodel is slated for the building. A long time coming and very anticipated.

Stay tuned to upcoming newsletters for information and progress of the Cowan Building revitalization.  Please contact us at the office or Loran if you are interested in lease space in the building.

Downtown Updates

–If you are considering a downtown development or renovation of a Downtown building, the CORE Incentive Programs are once again available through the City of Bismarck.  The CORE Programs currently active are Façade and Signage Grant, Housing Incentive Grant, Technical Assistance Bank, and Sidewalk Subsurface Infill.  The programs are designed to encourage reinvestment, rehabilitation, and new development in the Downtown area.  For more information contact the Downtowners or Jason Tomanek at the City of Bismarck at 701-355-1849.


— At the January 15 meeting of the Renaissance Zone Authority, two projects were recommended for approval to the City Commission.  Bombshell Salon, a new business to Bismarck, was approved for Renaissance Zone status.  The Salon will occupy almost 1,700 square feet in the Gulch Block currently under construction at 510 E Main.  Blink Eyewear, also a new business in Bismarck, was approved for two CORE grants for Façade and Signage at 234 W Broadway.  The recommendations will now go to the city for consideration.


— The Bismarck Parking Authority is offering free evening parking in the 3rd and Main Ramp from 4pm to 2am daily through the end of the year.  With all the new activity and nightlife in Downtown Bismarck, the ramps allow the public to enjoy the city center and not have to search for street parking.

How the After Hour Complementary Parking Works: Use the entrance to the 3rd & Main Ramp on 3rd Street.  Pull into the ramp and pull a time stamped ticket.  The arm will raise and allow the car through to park.  When exiting the ramp, simply use the hourly lane and deposit your ticket in the slot, the arm will already be raised to allow the cars to exit. There is no leeway on timing.  If you enter at 3:59pm or exit at 2:01am, the customer will be charged the normal hourly rate. 


— The cafe located in the library, Hotwire Café, has a new menu and is under new ownership. Stop by for lunch or to refuel with a coffee.  Find out more at facebook.com/hotwirecafe.


Downtown Bismarck 2013 Preview- Part 2

In the last newsletter, we previewed some of the great things coming up for Downtown in 2013.  There was so much, we had to split it into two parts!

Downtown Master Plan Complete in Nov 2013 is a huge step for planning Downtown growth.From time to time, Downtowns require an updated Master Plan.  It details everything from land use, transportation issues, and infrastructure, to the design of benches, placement of bike racks, and streetscaping elements.  The City of Bismarck recently selected the consultant who will run the new Master Plan process.  There will be many chances for public input and we’ll keep you up to date so you can be involved in shaping Downtown for the future.

Broadway Centre will be moving toward completion as 2013 progresses.  Although weather and timelines may put the project completion in 2014, the community will see this large development in west Downtown take final shape in 2013.  Condos, commercial space, and a restaurant are planned, with Condos for sale now (some already sold), and owners filling lease space in 2013.

The Peacock Alley is celebrating its 80th Anniversary in 2013.  This historic establishment is one of the cornerstones of our Downtown. Look for owners Dale and Melodie to offer up some fun events and dishes in celebration of establishment’s 80th this year.

While there is so much more happening in Downtown Bismarck in 2013, these are the broad strokes.  Stay tuned to our future newsletters to learn the news as it happens.


Upcoming events

What’s Shakin Downtown…


Jan 24- Feb 3

Dakota Stage Presents:




Jan 19

Bis-Man Symphony

Hollywood Blockbusters



Jan 19

Bismarck Civic Center Presents:

Hairball Concert



Jan 29-31

Energy Generation Conference

Bismarck Civic Center



Feb 9

Bis-Man Symphony

Faerie Tales



Feb 14

Valentine’s Day

Downtown Bismarck



Downtowners’ Association News

Organization and member news …

Welcome to our Newest Member!

North Dakota League of Cities

You can find NDLC’s information, and all of our member’s information at: www.downtownbismarck.com

Member First Community Credit Union received the Community Credit Union of the Year award from the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), which represents 90% of all credit unions across the US. This award honors credit unions that consistently excel in the advancement of credit union ideals, are proactive in their community and meet the needs of their diverse members. The specific three areas judged were member impact, community impact and financial impact. FCCU was awarded first place in the category of credit unions with more than $250 million in total assets.



Please send all member business news and events to: kate@downtownbismarck.com.

Check the Downtown Business Association’s websites for updated news and events www.downtownbismarck.com or www.bismarckribfest.com.

Please forward this on to people interested in Downtown news!