Businesses hope for boost from studentsFARGO (AP) — Downtown Fargo businesses hope that several thousand North Dakota State University students who soon will be their neighbors also will become their customers.
FARGO (AP) — Downtown Fargo businesses hope that several thousand North Dakota State University students who soon will be their neighbors also will become their customers.
NDSU now has three classroom buildings downtown, and the university will manage 104 apartments housing up to 220 students in the new five-story Cityscapes complex.
This fall, more than 2,500 NDSU students will be enrolled in classes downtown, a number that university officials predict could reach as high as 4,000 in the future.
Dave Anderson, president of Fargo’s Downtown Community Partnership, said there is a lot of talk among business owners about what that might mean. Students also seem excited about the off-campus experience.
Third-year doctoral student Khalid Bahkar said it reminds him of the learning environment he experienced while studying in Paris but on a smaller scale.
“I like sometimes to enjoy myself by walking to different stores and catching events happening in downtown,” said Bahkar, an American citizen from Morocco who will be living in Cityscapes. “So I like living downtown. It’s the center of everything.”
Since spring, fifth-year NDSU landscape architecture student Kyle Slivnik has been attending classes downtown at Klai Hall.
“It definitely has caused me to stop in at especially places to eat and things like that,” he said.
Other students also are spending more time downtown than they did when on campus, Slivnik said.
“It’s just kind of nice to get away from the building and remove yourself from the actual campus setting for a couple of minutes,” he said.
In addition to housing NDSU students, the Cityscapes project will contain a 2,000-square-foot campus police substation to be completed by mid-September and a 5,000-square-foot university bookstore that is expected to open in October, said Paul Johnson, Cityscapes senior commercial agent.
“We’re continuing to negotiate with a coffee shop, two fast-food places, two sit-down restaurants, a fitness center and a combination grocery store/convenience store,” he said.
Across the street, a half-dozen specialty shop proprietors are eager to find out what the potential influx of customers fitting their stores’ age demographic will mean.
“I don’t see how it couldn’t be good for everyone down here, having all these kids,” said Matt Oland, 24-year-old owner of Orange Records. “There should be a lot of new faces that have never seen the store before.”
Greg Danz, owner of Zandbroz Variety, has started using Facebook and Twitter to market his store to the college-connected community.
“We’re excited by the prospects of all of them being down here, for sure,” he said.