Bison World Fund hires Stifel to help get private funding for project
The Bison World project is a cultural and theme park that would be located on land utilized as pasture for the National Buffalo Museum herd in southwest Jamestown.
JAMESTOWN – The nonprofit Bison World Fund has retained Stifel Financial Corp. out of Minneapolis to help get some private funding for the Bison World project in Jamestown, according to Connie Ova, CEO of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.
Ova updated the JSDC Board of Directors Monday, April 11, about the project.
The Bison World Fund is hoping to secure funding for the project from the Legacy Fund. North Dakota’s State Investment Board is responsible for the investment of the state’s Legacy Fund, which has more than $8.4 billion.
Ova said after the meeting the project cannot be presented to the State Investment Board or 50 South Capital out of Chicago because there is no process in place to do so. She said Bison World Fund is not a venture capital fund and does not fit the parameters of 50 South Capital.
Part of the money set aside for North Dakota investments is managed by 50 South Capital through its North Dakota Growth Fund. The Legacy Fund committed $100 million of a $250 million allocation to 50 South Capital.
The Bison World project is a cultural and theme park that would be located on land utilized as pasture for the National Buffalo Museum herd in southwest Jamestown. When complete, the park would include an amphitheater, museums and other attractions to entertain and educate people about the American bison, which is the national mammal.
The cost of the project had a preliminary cost estimate of $72 million.
Ova said Stifel is putting together a presentation to pitch the Bison World project to private companies or individuals who would be interested in doing some equity or bond funding for the project in addition to whatever funding the project can get through the state with the Legacy Fund.
“We don’t want to let the project die. It’s a wonderful project,” she said. “We need to keep making progress forward to maintain the momentum and keep the interest there.”
Ova said Stifel is working with Eide Bailly to update some projections to its financial forecast for the Bison World project. Eide Bailly conducted a financial forecast for the project in 2021.
Ova said the State Investment Board is doing an asset allocation study, which could take six to nine months to complete.
“Six to nine months before they have a process to vet any of the projects,” she said. “It’s not just us that has a project. There are a lot of statewide projects that are looking for this funding.”
Ova also told the board the Bison World project received a letter of support from Les Thomas, tourism consultant for the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.
“I have been authorized – through tribal resolution – to continue developing our tourism department including establishing strong working relationships with a multitude of federal, state and tribal agencies to promote tribal tourism throughout the world,” he wrote. “The Bison World Project will do much to sustain our state and tribal tourism industries and we look forward to working the the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp.”
The JSDC Board of Directors unanimously approved a Flex PACE request for Jamestown Monument for more than $85,700 with the city of Jamestown’s share being more than $68,500 and Stutsman County’s share being more than $17,100.
Corry Shevlin, JSDC business development director, said Jamestown Monument will purchase the H & H Holdings building in the I-94 Business Park. He said Jamestown Monument will do some renovations and buy some new equipment to make its business more productive. He also said Jamestown Monument could potentially add two employees.
In other business, the JSDC board heard a report from Ova who said Archer Daniels Midland Co. is trying to get a groundbreaking scheduled for the planned Green Bison Soy Processing plant at the Spiritwood Energy Park Association industrial park east of Jamestown. ADM and Marathon Petroleum Corp. have a joint venture called Green Bison Soy Processing LLC and will own and operate a soybean processing plant at the SEPA industrial park. She said the groundbreaking could happen in June.