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Big bank buys Hub; no word on plans

By Staff | Sep 12, 2014

Though the future usage of the former Hub complex in Rugby remains unknown, new ownership is no longer a mystery.

First International Bank and Trust, headquartered in Watford City, purchased the property, according to bank president Mark Friedt.

“Our intent for right now is to clean up the property and take stuff down over the course (of the winter),” Friedt said Tuesday in a phone interview.

“With underground tanks and stuff there’s a process to go through. … Long-term, I’m not at liberty to share that plan, but we’re excited to own property in Rugby.”

Friedt declined to specify what First International paid for the 2.9-acre lot along U.S. 2. The remaining 0.91 acres of the Hub property was purchased by Family Dollar. SyAnn Graber, interim executive director of Rugby Job Development Authority, said she also is not at liberty to speak about the plans for the newly purchased lot.

First National Bank of Fessenden was founded in 1900 and acquired by the Stenehjem family in 1984. In 1990, the bank aquired Midwest Federal Savings & Loan offices in Fargo and Harvey and the name changed to First International, according to the bank’s website. Trust powers were added in 1992. CEO Stephen Stenehjem is the second cousin of North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and late state senator Bob Stenehjem.

It is not clear if the bank intends to open a branch in Rugby, which has three banks and a credit union. First International has 20 branches in North Dakota, including offices in Alexander, Bowdon, Elgin, Fargo, Fessenden, Harvey, Killdeer, Minot, Watford City, West Fargo and Williston. Out-of-state branches include three in Minnesota and three in Arizona.

First International also owns Outlaws Bar and Grill steakhouses in Watford City and Williston. Adjoining the 120-seat steakhouse and bank headquarters on Watford City’s Main Street is another entity – Six Shooters Showhall and Cafe, which has two 100-seat movie theatres with stadium-style seating, according to McKenzie County’s economic development website.

The site says that building also houses a conference and convention center and gallery area for meetings and receptions.

(In the print edition, Stenejhem was identified as a brother, rather than a second cousin. The Tribune regrets the error.)

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