Local businessman Dale Zimmerman, owner of Peacock Alley and 40 Steak+Sea Food, has purchased the former Northern Pacific train depot with plans to proceed with a proposed Depot Plaza concept, the Bismarck Tribune reports.
First proposed in the Downtown SubArea Plan, Depot Plaza will replace the existing parking lot with a community-focused hub that will feature such activities as winter ice skating and summer festivals. The project will cost an estimated $5 million and is expected to be funded privately.
Depot Plaza will result in the elimination of one of downtown’s largest parking lots, which holds 96 vehicles… many of which designated for the depot’s long-time restaurant Fiesta Villa.
For the time being, Fiesta Villa will remain housed inside the historic depot and its patrons can continue using the parking lot. Within two years, however, the parking lot is expected to be eliminated for the Plaza.
According to the Tribune article, Zimmerman urges Fiesta Villa customers to utilize the downtown parking ramps, particularly the Third Street ramp, which is free during non-peak hours.
The building was constructed in 1900 as a passenger depot for Northern Pacific Railroad to replace its former depot, which was destroyed in the 1898 Fire. In the early days of the depot, the site was home to Depot Park – one of the city’s first parks. Prior to the depot’s construction, the site housed Sheridan House Hotel, which was forced to relocate. After merging with Northern Pacific, Burlington Northern continued using the depot until discontinuing service in the mid-1970s. Fiesta Villa opened in the building in 1977.
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