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Liquor license transfer may signal Offutt headquarters in downtown Fargo

By Dave Olson / The Forum A liquor license transfer request may speak volumes about R.D. Offutt Co. and the likelihood it will build a new headquarters in downtown Fargo. Rick Engen, the owner of the Fort Noks bar at 52 Broadway, recently let cit...

Offutt headquarters?

By Dave Olson / The Forum

A liquor license transfer request may speak volumes about R.D. Offutt Co. and the likelihood it will build a new headquarters in downtown Fargo.

Rick Engen, the owner of the Fort Noks bar at 52 Broadway, recently let city officials know in a letter that R.D. Offutt has approached him about buying his property as part of a “substantial development in downtown Fargo.” Now, Engen is looking to transfer Fort Noks’ liquor license to Scott Neal, R.D. Offutt’s vice president for real estate.

The transfer request will be heard Wednesday by the city’s Liquor Control Board.

In his application for the liquor license, Neal said the proposed business plan calls for the continued operation of Fort Noks, with construction of a new building to the north of the existing structure, an area known as 56 Broadway.

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The application doesn’t mention a corporate headquarters, but Neal said in September that R.D. Offutt was eyeing the downtown location for new offices.

At that time, city officials said they were in talks with R.D. Offutt about possibly teaming up to build a 600-space parking ramp on what is now a 140-space parking lot the city owns adjacent to NP Avenue and just west of the parking lot that serves the Old Broadway restaurant and bar.

R.D. Offutt would look to use 300 spaces in a new ramp, with the city using the other 300, officials said last fall.

Neal said last fall that before R.D. Offutt buys property downtown or agrees to a parking ramp plan, it would first need to secure tax breaks for the headquarters project through the city’s Renaissance Zone program.

As of Monday, the city had not received a formal application for a Renaissance Zone tax break, though city officials said the company has been in touch about how to apply.

R.D. Offutt now has its headquarters at 700 7th St. S. in Fargo.

Neal has said R.D. Offutt had no plans for how the south Fargo site would be used if the headquarters is moved downtown.

A message left for Neal seeking comment was not returned.

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