In their quest to redevelop the 500 and 600 blocks of West Main Street in Mandan, city commissioners entered into an $80,000 contract Tuesday with Icon Architectural Group.

Last month, the architectural firm unveiled a plan to transform Mandan's former Central Market property, located at 504 W. Main St., into an event hall, open market and multi-story, mixed-use building dubbed "The Railyard."

By signing the contract, which guarantees Icon’s services through May 2018, the city is not giving the “go ahead” to start planning the development.

The contract covers a more in-depth study of the properties for redevelopment, to include the former Thrifty White Drug building, located at 511 First St. NW. The study would include a cost and revenue analysis to determine a construction price tag for the project, as well as a parking analysis, a master plan with designs for potential building and renovation projects and requests for proposals for the purchase and redevelopment of certain properties.

“This is a little bit of a risk,” said Commissioner Scott Davis. “But we have a bucket of money to do such things and I think it’s a really good move.”

The contract is funded from the sales tax reserve. Any additional reimbursable expenses are not to individually exceed $1,000, or cumulatively exceed $5,000, without authorization.

Also, the contract does not bind the city to work exclusively with Icon on architectural services for actual construction or redevelopment of the project, said City Attorney Malcolm Brown, though elected officials may choose to do so.

“I think it’s going to be a big step forward for the west end of Main Street and I think we got a chance of a lifetime, here, to do something,” said Mayor Tim Helbling. “I think it’s going to be a good thing.”

Icon’s goal is to develop a master plan in time to begin construction next spring.

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