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Local restaurateur and entrepreneur Dale Zimmerman will not be required to install lattice framing to the windows of the former Bismarck train depot.

The remodel of the Bismarck Depot will seek downtown design reapproval next month for changes to windows, which were excluded in the first review.

Members of the Renaissance Zone Authority, which serves as the downtown design review board that oversees downtown building projects to ensure they meet with the area’s aesthetic goals, will be deciding whether or not to allow new windows to be installed without the lattice work that adorns a number of the original windows.

Building owner Dale Zimmerman, who is remodeling the Depot for a brewery and event space, said the architect accidentally submitted the wrong photos during the original design review, which showed the windows with the lattice. City planner Daniel Nairn said, any time a “substantive change” to design is made, it has to be reapproved by the board.

Zimmerman’s reasoning for seeking the change is that replacing the windows, many of which have lattice that is falling apart and contain lead paint, is cost prohibitive.

“Nobody can do it for a justifiable price,” said Zimmerman, adding that metal windows with lattice would increase the cost of the project by $125,000 and wood windows,such as those in place now, are $60,000 a piece for 31 windows.

Nairn said one of the complicating factors is the building has a historical designation and, under city code, the historic look should be maintained “as much as possible.”

Zimmerman said about seven windows and doors on the building have already been replaced since 1984 and an addition, which was approved by the city and the State Historical Society of North Dakota, was built in 2008.

When changes were made by the owners 20 years ago, there were no ordinances in place to protect the building’s design as there are today, according to Nairn.

In the case of the Blarney Stone's addition in a building across the street from the Depot, where a garage door was installed, the building's owners also had to meet historic standards for the property, which is in the Downtown Historic District. But when it came to adding the garage door, Nairn said the historic facade of the building's ground floor had already been removed years ago, before the door offering open-air dining was proposed.

Zimmerman said this additional approval process has been frustrating, especially for a less than 2,000-square-foot remodel project that has proven expensive, costing around $2 million.

The changes will go before the design review board Sept. 14.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or


Business Reporter