“It’s been a long time coming but we’ve finally arrived at the finish line,” says Aaron Barth admiring the newest addition to Bismarck’s riverfront.
This May, the Missouri Valley Heritage Alliance (formerly known as the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation) will officially open the River Landing Warehouse at the Port of Bismarck.
The 3,500 square foot building is located at 1700 North River Road in Bismarck. The distinctive building harkens back to the post-and-beam warehouses that once crowded the 19th century riverfront, something Barth, who is MVHA’s executive director, says is exactly what the alliance wanted.
“The Landing a 21st century take on the iconic warehouses. For us, this project takes us back to our roots in many ways. From when we were founded in September 1982 as Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation, we coalesced around the goal of rebuilding infantry, cavalry, and earth lodge infrastructure at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park and we developed world class heritage education at the park to compliment the park’s facilities,” said Barth.
Enhancing Bismarck’s Greatest Asset
According to Barth, the organization had a “mission accomplished” moment around 2012 when it realized it had pretty much done all it could do at the state park and shifted its focus to heritage education and tourism.
“We realized it was imperative to bring the mission of building, or re-building, heritage infrastructure to other spaces and places on the Missouri River and throughout central North Dakota,” added Barth.
The group has long owned and operated the Lewis & Clark Riverboat at the Port of Bismarck. Damage from the 2011 flood led to the demolition of the Meriwether’s restaurant building that had been located at the port. In 2015, the Fort Abraham Lincoln Foundation launched a capital campaign that Barth says responded to the question: “Is someone going to build a new building at the Port of Bismarck?”
The need was matched by public desire. A survey conducted as part of the Bismarck Mayor’s Livability Summit found a majority of respondents identified the Missouri River as the city’s greatest asset.
“With the City of Bismarck providing MVHA with the lease option to build at this location, we set out to construct a building that would add another asset to Bismarck-Mandan’s riverfront,” Barth noted. “Tourism is North Dakota’s third largest industry, generating more than three billion dollars in annual visitor spending. Heritage tourism is central to our state’s appeal.”
CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund Helps MVHA
The COVID-19 pandemic caused significant supply chain disruptions for the project, which Barth says started in January 2020.
“We were contending with delay after delay and we were looking at all financial options. One of our board members brought the Flex-PACE program to our attention. We then worked with Starion Bank and Lewis and Clark Development Group to get everything put in place,” Barth said.
Lewis & Clark Development Group was able to provide financing through the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund, which provides local funding for the Bank of North Dakota’s Flex-PACE buy down program.
LCD Group, through Lewis & Clark Regional Development Council (RDC), received a $1,133,000 investment award from the U.S. Economic Development Agency (EDA) in 2020 to capitalize a fund to assist adversely impacted businesses.
“The pandemic caused significant supply chain disruptions that delayed completion of the project. Construction was delayed, the opening was pushed back, and the project was starting to encounter cash flow issues. This was a prime example of why why the fund was created,” adds Burthold who also called the project a “no-brainer.”
“The Alliance is well established and there’s little question that The Landing will generate significant business and sales tax revenue,” observes Burthold.
LCD Group’s “Radical Customer Service“
The Landing’s use will be multi-functional. It will be the orientation headquarters for the Northern Plains Heritage Area, which is one of the 55 national heritage areas in the National Park Service family. Barth says this elevates The Landing by giving it national status.
“Because of this interpretive designation, visitors will be able to more easily find The Landing,” Barth observes.
Upon entering the building, visitors will be able to purchase tickets for the riverboat, purchase items from a gift shop, and learn about the region through an interactive kiosk, which will encourage visitors to explore the many scenic, historic, and recreational sites along the Missouri River and throughout the region. Visitors will also be able to dine at the Huckleberry House bar and restaurant.
“The Landing will be multi-functional. It’ll be a visitor site and a gathering place,” notes Barth who adds that the venue will also serve wedding and event venue, all of which he said is possible thanks to donors, Starion Financial, and Lewis & Clark Development Group.
“Lewis and Clark Development Group was exceptional to work with,” says Barth. “Every step of the way, with every question, concern, and inspiration, Matt exhibited what can be described as radical customer service whether in replies to emails, phone calls, Zoom meetings, and in-person visits.”
“Matt Burthold and Lewis and Clark Development Group really accelerated the long-term financing of this project,” Barth said.
CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund
Financing is still available through the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund.
To be eligible for financing, a business or organization must have been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and be located in one of the following ten counties: Burleigh, Emmons, Grant, Kidder, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Oliver, Sheridan, and Sioux.
Contact Matt Burthold, LCD Group commercial lending director, at (701) 667-7601 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if your business qualifies.
Bank of North Dakota Flex PACE Program
Eligibility: The borrower can be any person or entity whose business is located in the state of North Dakota. This may be an individual, corporation, limited liability company, partnership, association or any combination of these if there is common ownership.The community in which the business is located will determine if the objectives of the business meet the needs of the community and to what extent they will provide the matching portion of the buydown funds required to access this program.
Use of Proceeds: Proceeds may be used to purchase real property, equipment and certain working capital requirements.
Loan Amount / Limit: There are no maximum loan parameters.
Interest Rates and Fees: A fixed or variable interest rate may be used in the loan participation. The interest rate to the borrower may be as much as 5% below the rate on the promissory note, but not less than 5% below Prime with a floor of 1%. There is a $250 minimum origination fee.
Collateral: Adequate collateral will be required.
Participation Requirements: BND will evaluate all requests in the same manner as it does with a commercial bank participation. BND’s participation must be 50 percent to 80 percent.
Loan Terms: Working capital: 1-5 years | Equipment: 5-7 years | Real estate: Up to 20 years
Click here for more information on participation requirements, buydown requirements, and additional information.
Let LCD Group Help Your Business
Visit Lewis & Clark Development Group’s website for information on our range of small business programs and contact us with questions.