A subsidiary of Chicago-based real estate developer Prime Group is planning to build a $150 million convention center and shopping area near the Bakken patch.
The convention center will be located in Williston, North Dakota and is projected to open in or after 2016, Reuters said Monday.
BR Investments, the subsidiary in charge of the project, is still looking for funding and needs approval from city officials.
The convention center would be a 16-story complex with more than 600,000 square feet of space, including indoor and outdoor exhibition areas, a Ruth’s Chris Steak House, retail shops, office space, underground parking and a 300-room hotel.
The complex will also include a free standing convention hall designed to resemble shale rock clusters.
BR Investments said it expects to spend about $110 million and cover the rest of the costs with public financing.
The firm has asked Williston to provide $40 million in funding for the freestanding convention hall.
Williston’s mayor Howard Klug said that he supports the idea of a new convention space but has not decided if he will support BR Investment’s proposal.
BR Investments hopes to break ground on the convention center in early 2015.
The firm projects that construction will take about 15 to 18 months.
BR Investments hopes to capitalize on the flood of new residents and companies in the area brought about by the shale boom.
Oil and gas companies in particular have struggled to find adequate space for training seminars, conventions and large meetings.
Williston city officials said the lack of space during a local job fair caused 100 people to be turned away.
The permanent population of Williston and the six surrounding townships grew by about 20 percent from 2010 to 2012, according to researchers at North Dakota State University.
Researches estimate that by 2017 the population will grow by 61 percent for full-time permanent residents and by 134 percent when transient residents are included.