City officials say local developer may be in breach of contract

FARGO, ND (Valley News Live) – City of Fargo officials say a local developer may be in breach of contract after missing a deadline to complete a project near the NDSU campus.

Roers Development has been contracted by the city to continue ongoing construction at St. Paul’s Newman Center on University Drive.

This particular project also included the development of student housing and the requirement to build seven townhouses in the Roosevelt neighborhood.

“The apartments were occupied in July last year. It’s been open for 10 months and there’s no work going on on the townhouses,” said Jim Gilmour, director of strategic planning.

The contract between Roers and the city ended in December last year.

“I think he lied to all of us. He lied to the Roosevelt district. It’s usual. That’s what the big developers think they can get away with,” said Commissioner Dave Piepkorn.

At the City Commission meeting last night, the commissioners expressed their displeasure that the project was not completed as planned.

“It’s a breach of contract. When a contract is breached, it is null and void,” Commissioner Arlette Preston said.

Commissioner John Strand said: “This project has tested our relationship with our neighbourhoods. He tested the fiber of our agreements with our neighborhoods and our people.

Jim Roers, president of development at Roers, said a few factors contributed to the ongoing delays.

“Congestion started to be a real problem for us. The cost of building these homes has dramatically changed the dynamics of the numbers involved in building these seven townhouses,” Roers said.

He also says he was unaware of the time constraint.

“I apologize that the timing is probably not on our side.

Commissioner Dave Piepkorn was not convinced.

“We have to crack down on a bad actor like this, because clearly the intent was all along that path,” he said.

As for what’s next, the city commission voted to have the city’s and Roers’ legal teams meet to discuss what solutions Roers might bring to the table.

At that point, City will have to determine if Roers was in breach of contract before weighing their legal options.

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