Construction Underway at Fargo’s Bison Turf

Although a second floor patio is being built, familiar faces and furniture are on the way back

FARGO, N.D. — After being mostly destroyed by a massive fire, the Bison Turf is starting to take shape.

Crews finished tearing down the parts of the building that won’t be kept.

“I want to open it about ten minutes after they’re done building it,” said Bison Turf owner Pete Sabo.

Sabo showed us a sketch of new Bison Turf plans, keeping the old storefront intact and adding a some new features.

Hopeful for a re-opening in May, they’re adding a second floor bar with two additional bathrooms and a 30 by 70 foot patio.

“The view is amazing from the upstairs,” said Sabo. “It’ll be good.”

In July 2016, the Turf burned in a massive fire forcing the business to close.

“It was like watching a family member die,” described Sabo.

Sabo wanted to keep most of the building, but the damage was too much.

“Anytime you start over, you need to meet the new code,” said Fargo city planning director Jim Gilmour. “So that’s why it’s really hard to use any portions of the old building.”

For months, the burnt down Turf sat untouched in legal limbo.

Shards of the fire still lay on the ground, but earlier last week, workers finally started reconstruction.

South and west walls from the old building will become part of the new Turf.

Thankfully, a lot of the furniture survived the fire so Sabo plans to put the old booths back in.

“We’re putting them back in the exact same place they came out with the same names carved in the same booths at the same location,” said Sabo. “So it will look like the same old Turf when you walk in the front door.”

The new building will have a sprinkler system; something the old Bison Turf did not have.

“It had a lot of character and I know a lot of people liked it a lot,” said NDSU sophomore Tucker Schoenfish. “I’m glad to see it’s coming back again.”

The project costs more than a million dollars and Sabo said insurance is covering about two thirds of it.

The other $400,000?

That’s coming out of Sabo’s pocket.

“I knew I was going to build this again, regardless of what I had to do, and there were some pretty big hurdles I had to jump,” said Sabo. “It’ll be warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, the beer will be much colder.”

The new Bison Turf will also have brand new insulation, cooling, heating and plumbing.

Sabo said many former employees are coming back.

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