Block 52 building

Above is an artist’s rendering of the proposed development on Monticello’s Block 52. A mixed use od retail, office, restaurant, and apartments is being proposed by aNorth Dakota-based developer.


The vision of a new downtown Monticello is being to take shape.

Mark Buchholz, of Fargo-based Dale Buchholz Construction, unveiled plans for a 5-story multi-use development on Block 52.

That’s the block bound by River Street to the north, Broadway Street to the south, Pine Street (Highway 25) to the east and Walnut Street to the west.

The plans were presented at a joint workshop of the Monticello City Council and the planning commission, economic development authority, and parks, arts & recreation commission.

Buchholz Construction is proposing a 5-story development in an L-shaped configuration along Broadway and Pine streets that would included apartments, office space, retail stores and a destination restaurant.

The office, retail, and restaurant would occupy the first level of the building, with 87 apartments on levels two through four, Mark Buchholz said.

The office space would look out over Broadway Street, while five retail shops would line Pine Street. The destination restaurant, complete with outdoor dining space, would occupy the corner of River Street and Pine and look over West Bridge Park and the Mississippi River. A public plaza would grace the highly visible corner of Broadway and Pine streets.

A highlight of the apartment complex would be a fourth level rooftop patio and community space for tenants. The features would have fantastic views of the river, Buchholz said.

A pocket park is also projected to be part of the development.

“I view this as a community asset,” Buchholz told the community leaders. 

Buchholz Construction is creating something beautiful both for his company and the city of Monticello.

“We want to create something with vibrancy that will be a place where you want to go and hang out,” Buchholz said.

Buchholz estimated that the plan is a $25 million investment- but it could be substantially higher.

The developer called the complex something that would connect with the river, local events, and the landscape of the area.

Architect Rhet Fiskness of Rhet Architecture said the mixed-use building would incorporate many facets of urban design, which he teaches at North Dakota State University.

“Cities are designed by architecture,” Fiskness said. He suggested that the Block 52 project will help define downtown Monticello- all while respecting the neighboring buildings that exist downtown.

The development is projected to be 50 percent red masonry, with accents of blonde brick and architectural metals, Fiskness said. There will be awnings along Broadway Street. Some of the 2-bedroom apartments will have 18 inch Juliette balconies. There will be some full balconies on the building’s fourth floor.

He specifically noted that the development would create a focal point at one of Monticello’s key intersections, while respecting the Lucille Murray Dance Studio and the Mattress Factory buildings on the southwest corner of Block 52. Along with the Frank & Bessie’s Attic building at 106 Walnut Street, the Lucille Murray Dance Studio and the Mattress Factory buildings are not among the 83 percent of Block 52 that the city of Monticello owns.

The access points to the development will be along River Street and Walnut Street. There will 83 underground parking spaces, as well as approximately 114 surface parking spaces.

The meeting began with Community Development Director Angela Schumann and Economic Development Manager Jim Thares giving a refresher on the city’s 2040 Vision Plan, the Downtown Small Area Plan, the Walnut Street Corridor Plan, and the zoning governing the downtown area. They also went over the next steps in making the development a reality, including the creation of a TIF district that would allow the developer to recapture property taxes that could then be used to develop the property.

Thares noted that the economic development authority (EDA) and the developer have in place what is called a preliminary development agreement, a non-binding agreement between the EDA and Buchholz. The EDA and Buchholz would enter into a development agreement, which is a formal contract outlining the development of the block before Block 52 construction would begin.

A handful of Monticello city councilors commented on the development before the workshop closed.

Jim Davidson noted that he had an appreciation for the architecture and use of materials highlighted in the building plans.

Charlotte Gabler said she likes the project- including the use of glass so the building is not all glass.

“I think it’s awesome,” she said.

Mayor Lloyd Hilgart said he was extremely happy with the design, materials, and layout of the building.

“You came to the table with an A-plus project,” Hilgart said.

Sam Murdoff said he really liked the building and was impressed with the thought that went into the plans.

However, Murdoff suggested that the developers were not thinking big enough.

“I’m willing to help you make the project bigger,” he said.

Murdoff said he envisioned an additional one-story structure along River Street- and maybe in the future, Walnut Street, that would attract shops and patrons that would make downtown Monticello an even bigger destination.

“From my perspective, we should be doing a little bit more,” Murdoff said.

Mark Buchholz responded that he saw his project as the first step towards Monticello realizing its vision for downtown, with residual development along Walnut Street as a next- or second- step.

In closing, Buchholz noted that his company has been interested in Block 52 and Monticello for a long time.

That appears to be true. Buchholz is the developer of the Deephaven Apartments, a important aspect of another big Monticello Project: The Pointes at Cedar.

Located at 1255 Edmonson Ave NE on the northeast corner of the Pointes at Cedar project, Deephaven is a three-building apartment development with 105 apartment units.

Reach Jeff Hage at



Jeff Hage is the managing editor of the Monticello Times. He majored in journalism at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.

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