The North Dakota National Guard is reconsidering a plan to build a new National Guard armory at the Airport Business Park, according to discussions at the January meeting of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.
Corry Shevlin, business development specialist for the JSDC, said at the board's meeting on Monday that the North Dakota Legislature will consider a proposal to construct the new armory on state-owned land near the North Dakota State Hospital during the current session.
"It is great they are staying in Jamestown," Shevlin said. "The economic impact to the community is the same wherever they build."
The North Dakota Legislature will also consider a bill to construct a new State Hospital building on state-owned land near the current State Hospital and the James River Correctional Center.
The original armory project was announced in September 2019 and was promoted as the first tenant for the Airport Business Park which was under construction at the time. The announcement indicated actual construction was years in the future.
"The soonest construction could start would be in three years," said Jamestown Mayor Dwaine Heinrich at a 2019 JSDC meeting. "It could be as much as nine years and six to seven years to occupancy is most likely."
The JSDC approved at that time a $350,000 payment to the Jamestown Regional Airport Authority to cover a 40-year lease to meet the requirement that the city furnish land for the project. That money, which had been paid to the airport, was returned to the JSDC on Monday.
Heinrich referred to the plan to place the armory at the Airport Business Park a "loss leader" meant to spark interest in the industrial park at Monday's JSDC meeting.
The planned armory project had a preliminary cost estimate of $28 million in early 2020 and would have occupied about 19 acres of the 92-acre industrial park.
Shevlin said there continues to be interest in the Airport Business Park although no projects have been finalized.
"Lots of discussions," he said. "All very preliminary."
The Airport Business Park was built by the JSDC at a cost of about $2.8 million. Groundbreaking for the project was held in July 2018 with completion in the fall of 2019.
In other business, the JSDC Board of Directors Monday approved continued participation in the Flex Pace interest buy-down program. The JSDC provides an expanding or new business a loan that triggers access to grant money from the Bank of North Dakota that can be used to lower the interest costs of business loans to as low as 1%.
Shevlin said the program continues to be one of the most popular economic incentive programs offered by the JSDC.