Oppidan Invests Further in Oil-Rich ND
Minnetonka-based Oppidan Investment Company, a national property development firm, is increasing its focus on North Dakota’s oil-rich Bakken region by opening an office in Watford City.
Oppidan’s office will occupy 2,500 square feet in the 120,000-square-foot Watford Plaza, a commercial development that the firm is in the process of developing. Oppidan will join fellow tenants Cash Wise Foods, Alco, Happy Rice Buffett, and Red Wing Shoes.
“In the past year, Oppidan has invested more than $150 million to develop a wide range of retail and residential properties throughout the Bakken region,” President Joe Ryan said in a statement. “As such, we feel it’s important to have a more permanent footprint of our own there, to both demonstrate our commitment to the region and to appropriately manage our efforts.”
Oppidan has led significant developments in centrally located Watford City. In addition to the Watford Plaza, it began construction on the Pheasant Ridge Apartments in October, a 42-unit apartment complex housed in the city.
Additionally, Oppidan donated $10,000 to the Watford City Chamber of Commerce to help fund development of the Wolf Pup Daycare Center, a child-care facility that will serve up to 200 children in the Wolf Run Village community, according to Real Estate Journal. Mayor Brent Sanford reportedly said that Oppidan has become a “key community player in Watford City’s continued growth.”
Oppidan has also made large investments in Minot, North Dakota, another city in the Bakken region. In September, it began construction on the 180,000-square-foot Southgate retail center. Slated to open in August, the Southgate center will feature Gordmans, Cash Wise Foods, Petco, and Shoe Carnival. Then in October, Oppidan purchased 10 acres of land for a 95,000-square-foot retail development site in Minot.
Oppidan has a number of additional real estate interests throughout the Bakken region, including planned or completed residential and commercial developments in Dickinson, Stanley, Tioga, and Williston.
Dubbed “The Luckiest Place on Earth” by The New York Times, the Bakken region consists of 200,000 square miles across 12 counties in North Dakota and parts of Montana and Saskatchewan, Canada. The region is in the midst of major economic development as a result of its oil boom that began seven years ago. Since the start of the boom, North Dakota has gone from the ninth-ranked oil-producing state to the second, behind only Texas.
North Dakota currently has the lowest unemployment rate and the highest rate of population growth in the United States, due largely to the prosperous Bakken region.
According to a memo from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, employment levels in the region have increased by more than 70 percent since 2009, while levels in the rest of North Dakota have remained flat. As of January 2013, the unemployment rate in the Bakken region was 1.7 percent. And in the third quarter of 2012, the weekly wages in its counties increased 17 percent from the previous year, reaching $1,217, compared to $776 in the rest of North Dakota.