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Published August 18, 2023

Facelift for Downtown 

Written by
Kim Fundingsland
| The Dakotan
Work on a new building facade in downtown Minot. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)
Work on a new building facade in downtown Minot. (Photo: Kim Fundingsland/The Dakotan)

Façade Program Restores Original Look 

MINOT – Downtown has been undergoing significant changes in the past few years, and it continues with a popular program to dress up the facades of aging buildings, many which date back 100 years or more. 

“We aren’t recreating museums here, but they will reflect the time period to what the building looked like,” said Jonathan Rosenthal, Minot’s economic development administrator. “Some are original brick, sometimes stone, and we are reintroducing larger windows.” 

The latest façade projects include the former D&S Bootery and Esoterica buildings on the east side of Main Street. The buildings have been altered several times previously but will have a much more original look when completed. Also, noted Rosenthal, the storefronts will be much more appealing than in the past. 

“We’re restoring them into display windows so you can look in and look out,” explained Rosenthal. “A proper display window is, essentially, a 24-hour billboard when it’s properly done.” 

Requirements to participate in the program approved by City Council are limited. They include assurances that the store fronts will remain lit until at least 10 p.m., something that will add to an “open and alive” look downtown with modern LED lighting. 

The façade “forgivable loan program” is effectively a grant to participating businesses. It is a 10-year loan that must be paid back only if the participating business doesn’t comply with the stipulations of the program. 

“There’s several more in the works,” remarked Rosenthal. “We don’t have enough dollars to fund them all. It’s first come, first served. It is a successful program that has inspired some people to make changes. It’s something that can really help change the feeling of our community. It also shows the business community that it’s worth making the investment.”  

The program is not intended for general maintenance. It was passed by the City Council in 2019. 

Program Goals 

(City of Minot website) 

  • Promote private redevelopment and investment in downtown properties (exterior and interior);  
  • Inspire local commercial development to address market failures;  
  • Encourage beautification in Minot, generally, and in the Central Business District, specifically;  
  • Revitalize downtown as a unique cultural and retail hub of Minot;  
  • Support aesthetic improvements to the Central Business District;  
  • Increase community support for downtown;  
  • Reduce vacancies in the downtown;  
  • Provide a unique experience that draws visitors and residents, and supports other economic development efforts; and  
  • Improve conditions for the renovation of upper stories for residential and/or commercial uses. 
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