The question of what to do with the former Central Market in Mandan have been hanging over the city's head for over three years now.

Previously, we've come up with an idea of what to do with the building but at the moment, no definitive plans are in the works.

In the July issue of the 'Mandan Messenger,' the city notes that the main goal is to turn the former Central Market into another grocery store. The city reached out to Spartan Nash, the company that purchased all the Dan's Supermarkets in the Bismarck-Mandan area and Spartan Nash indicated that they have no immediate plans for expansion.

The city of Mandan has also reached out to Coborns, the company behind Cash Wise, and though there was some preliminary back and forth conversation through the Spring of 2016, the city indicates they have not heard from the company since May of last year.

The city also reached out to Aldi, a national grocery chain that just a few weeks ago announced they would be opening 900 new stores across the US. However, none of those 900 will be in Mandan. The grocery store chain never responded to inquiries from the city of Mandan.

Hornbacher's, the company behind 'Supervalu' also did not respond to inquiries.

Hy-Vee, a chain of grocery stores in the midwest, (that's where I shopped when I used to live in Iowa), has no distribution in North Dakota.

Natural Grocer's, which has locations in Grand Forks and Fargo, among many other locations across the South, Midwest, and West, told the city they had no interest in the Mandan market at this time.

Trader Joe's indicated that they had no plans to open any stores in North Dakota right now. Whole Foods also indicated that North Dakota is "not on their radar" at this time. It's not clear if Amazon's recent purchase of the franchise will change that outlook.

Kroger had a representative in Utah tell Mandan that someday they may plan to open stores in North Dakota but there are no immediate plans to do so.

Mandan seems to be open to other options though. The city has entered into an agreement with Icon Architectural Group, based in Grand Forks, and the company will present ideas of what the future of Central Market in Mandan could be at the city commission's July 11 meeting this Tuesday.

According to the July 11 agenda:

Icon Architectural Group will present the Commission with a proposed vision plan and probable costs for redevelopment of properties on West Main Street, most specifically the former Central Market and Thrifty White Drug properties at 504 W Main and 511 First Street NW.

The agenda also notes that the city entered the agreement with Icon Architectural Group in Dec. 2016.

The plan is aimed at stimulating interest by real estate developers and investors as well as potential business tenants. Kyle Kvamme and perhaps other representatives of Icon Architectural Group will present slides and information at the meeting that outlines a redevelopment vision plan and recommended next steps.

The Bismarck Tribune noted in late June that the City of Mandan had entered a deal to purchase the site of Central Market, which right now is privately owned. Ultimately the goal is to "get a private business that pays taxes in each of these buildings," Mandan Mayor Tim Helbling told The Tribune.

We'll see what ideas Icon Architectural Group has for the city on July 11. For now, the former Central Market building will continue to sit idle.

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