Big plans are in the works for the Old Northern Pacific Railroad Depot building and parking lot in downtown Bismarck.

Dale Zimmerman, owner of the city's Peacock Alley and East 40 restaurants, bought the building and land on September 24, and plans to turn it in to a plaza events center with ice skating rink.

The skating rink is an almost sure hit, considering Bismarck's famously frigid winters.

The new ownership and plans to remodel mean that the parking lot will no longer be open to the public to park for free; however, for now, nearby businesses will have the option of leasing space in the lot.

That option will also go away within a couple years, once the plaza depot expands in to the current parking area as it nears completion.

The owner of the Fiesta Villa, which occupies the east side of the building, will remain; about half of the 96 parking spots will be designated for it, until all parking spots are removed.

Zimmerman states:

I want it to be a destination place for festivities, rib fests, beer festivals, summer festivals and the universities’ events.

 

Zimmerman, in cooperation with local architects, hopes to have a plan for the plaza depot drafted in the next six weeks.