Take Advantage of a Strong "Opportunity Zone" City

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"Opportunity Zones"
Potential tax benefits and profits - while doing some good!

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Your opportunity zone investment needs to increase in value (when you sell it in 5-10 years) to make sense. Not all opportunity zones have real investment/growth potential. Many designated zones are truly distressed, are not really investment worthy, and are unlikely to attract capital gains investment funds. The key takeaway is: will the success of the project provide enough return for the capital gain investment?

Although a portion of the community is in a designated zone, Bemidji itself is NOT DISTRESSED, is growing (about 1% per year), and can provide choice investment sites in the qualified zone.

Yes, the city has lower than normal family income and poverty numbers, the reason why it obtained an opportunity zone designation. But these residential statistics are offset by a seasonal surge of tourists and lake cabin residents that come into the surrounding area lakes. Rich Siegert, local owner of the Hampton Inn and Doubletree Hotel, says the statistics actually hide the true Bemidji economic picture.

Historically the city downtown was centered largely between its lakes. In the late 70’s the Paul Bunyan Mall came in from outside and began to pull the city retail to its northwest location. The big box stores quickly followed. That was followed by Sanford Health acquiring the local hospital and making several major medical expansions. Now Delta Dental has built a nearby large facility and a new $42 million dollar veterans care facility is soon locating adjacent to the Sanford campus. Growth will continue toward the northwest but sites for development there are less and less available. From a retail standpoint the south side of the city was mostly ignored until the Sanford Event Center was built on the lake. Now that’s beginning to CHANGE the game for city expansion.

Opportunity Zone Map

City of Bemidji map

Bemidji—a regional growth story—why?

  • People like to live here! A great outdoor lifestyle from lakes and forests
  • Bemidji has become the REGIONAL HUB of north central Minnesota
  • An area population base over 40,000, swelling to a retail market of 90,000 seasonally with tourists, vacationers, and summer lake home residents
  • Very popular with Red River Valley residents (Fargo, Grand Forks) as a recreational playground
  • Stable but growing area population (up about 1% per year)
  • Driven by Bemidji State University (5,000 students), Sanford Health’s continuous expansion, and benefitted by outstanding airport facilities
  • Home to many large national retailers including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Menards, Gander Outdoors, and Paul Bunyan Mall stores now including Hobby Lobby and Kohl’s

Growth Pushing South: A potentially high-yield capital gains investment

The focal point of the city remains Lake Bemidji, and about eight years ago the huge Sanford Event Center (hockey, conventions, concerts, community activities) was completed by the city on the lake’s south end. There are already four surrounding hotels and other new projects (apartments, condos) underway. The growth will push more expansion south.

Sanford Center
Hampton Inn
Grocery and Bank

We believe the Event Center will continue to draw development SOUTH ALONG THE MAIN ARTERY (Highway #197) through town. This growth will create a sort of two-sided town. Heavy retail will remain to the northwest but about one-third of local residents already live to the south and are in need of convenient services. Major south residential development, big church expansions, and nearby Industrial Park growth have occurred.

The south entrance to town off the bypass is the main route from the tourist/lake areas to the east and south (Cass Lake chain, Leech Lake, etc.).

I believe sites along the #197 South corridor and west (in the designated opportunity zone) present the best investment opportunities since they already enjoy high traffic.

A potential large scale new development to the far south by the highway US #2 and US #71 bypass junction was abandoned after the 2008 financial crisis. Planned as a northern “retail outlet mall” (like the Albertville Outlet Mall) the 80+ acre site (not in the opportunity zone) is rumored to be available for major development. It this occurred retail expansion would enhance everything developed in the south opportunity zone.


Opportunity Zone Map

I’m a retired residential developer on the south end and acquired many #197 South properties believing the south growth was imminent due to the above planned development. I am very willing to discuss sites I own and other potential properties and will sell or joint venture good projects.

Below is a link to view a list of properties available in the Opportunity Zone. My contact info is below.

Property list


If you would like to visit about opportunity zone possibilities for Bemidji please contact me at (218) 209-9638 or email me at