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Kip Samson, 18 months, checks out the view from the new First Western Bank & Trust following a ribbon cutting for the new building on the corner of Front Avenue and Third Street in downtown Bismarck on Monday morning. Outside the bank are architects from the firm JLG Architects involved in the bank design. Kip is the son of Matthew and Marcella Samson, of Minot. "And it looks like he likes it here," Samson said of her son's first visit to the building.

When companies erect buildings such as the new downtown First Western Bank & Trust, it illustrates how Bismarck is acting like the capital city, said Bismarck-Mandan Chamber of Commerce President Brian Ritter.

“What you have created here is a gateway,” Ritter said. “It’s a gateway, not only to downtown but to one of our most crucial commercial corridors.”

The bank celebrated Monday the opening of its multimillion dollar location, 304 E. Front Ave. Jack Hoeven founded First Western Bank & Trust in 1964 to serve western North Dakota.

The estimated value of the building is about $12.6 million, according to the building permit filed with the city.

“This is our home and our community, and we want to see it succeed,” said bank board chairwoman Brenda Foster, which is why the bank opted to make the investment in the four-story black steel and slate building.

Market President Chad Johnson led tours of the bank, which sits on the former site of an MDU gas plant. Before the bank chose to build there, the lot was home to Reza’s Pitch restaurant.

The bank takes up the first two floors of the building, with the insurance and trust departments on the second floor. The 6,100-square-foot third floor and 5,600-square-foot fourth floor are available for rent on “one of the busiest corners in town,” Johnson said.

The building also boasts a rooftop event space with grills and a full kitchen. The event space can hold 120 people, with views of the University of Mary, Cathedral of the Holy Spirit and the capitol.

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Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or


Business Reporter