ANDERSON BUILDING

The landmark L J Anderson Building on Bismarck's west Main Avenue may soon be receiving a renovation said Rolf Eggers. The building was originally built by the International Harvester Company, a farm implement and machinery business.

TOM STROMME, TRIBUNE

The Anderson Building takes up its own city block on the west end of Bismarck’s Main Avenue. Built to house International Harvester farming implements, it’s large and sturdy.

And in Rolf Eggers eyes, it’s an opportunity.

The Eggers family owns a number of buildings around downtown Bismarck and the recently retired Rolf Eggers, with the blessings of his father, would like to start rehabilitating the family’s and other properties in the area.

“The goal is to pull the downtown entertainment district west,” Eggers said.

Eggers has commissioned EAPC architecture and engineering firm to study the Anderson Building for indoor and outdoor aesthetic improvements, elevator and stair tower installation, and best uses.

Among those uses he’d eventually like to see restaurants and bars added to the building penthouse and possibly the rooftop. The building is so big it’d have room for a few, he said.

“The building has absolutely gorgeous timbers and exposed brick,” Eggers added, and lends itself to the industrial design style that has grown in popularity. “As you get to the top floor you can see all the timbers in the roof.”

Kate Herzog of the Downtowners said the Anderson Building gets quite a bit of attention from people coming into town.

“People ask about it quite a bit,” she said. “We’ve been seeing so much activity happening in west downtown and coming into its own … It’s a great sign that this big and iconic of building may be getting love soon.”

The building contains businesses like an antique mall and comic book store. There are a number of apartments and there’s an event space, Co-Studio. As for the top floor, it’s mainly been used for storage.

“That’s a big bunch of space not really being utilized,” Herzog said. “There’s some really good things happening in the building now. If (Eggers) is able to renovate it he’d gain more usable space.”

With its big windows and high ceilings, Herzog said the Anderson Building is what people typically think of when looking for downtown space. Because of this, from a leasing standpoint, it’ll be more likely to get snapped up.

Eggers’ father purchased the property in the early '70s. International Harvester had vacated the premises in the late '40s or early '50s but the building has always had some sort of use, whether it was offices, retail or housing.

In addition to the Anderson Building, Eggers said he’s “looking for more projects” to invest in.

He saw success in updating the small spaces at 214 E. Main Ave. that house Black Tie Optional and Stella’s. Preparing to close the sale on another purchase, he’s getting ready to turn his attention to the former Mathison’s building.

Mathison’s has moved out of downtown to 1003 E. Interstate Ave., leaving it’s building free for renovation and a new tenant.

Eggers received city approval for Renaissance Zone tax incentives as he plans to restore the facade to brick and open up some upper windows. He’ll gut the interior to give the tenant a clean shell to work with, yet again exposing high ceilings and timbers. He’s hoping to have it ready to lease by spring.

Another Eggers family-owned project, though they’re not doing the renovations themselves, is the International Harvester building that will house Proximal 50’s second Bismarck location.

Herzog said the Mathison’s improvements, removing the metal cladding, will finish off the block’s facade renovations. And having Proximal 50 as a tenant on Mandan Street will bring the first full-service fitness center to the area, beyond boutique gyms already present.

Eggers said it’s nice that Bismarck’s downtown is doing well and has potential for more.

“It’ll be interesting to see if the activity we’re seeing in west downtown spurs even more projects,” Herzog said.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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