American Landmark LLC
The principals of American Landmark Group LLC (ALG) began with residential and commercial developments in Utah and Nevada. Over the course of 40 some years, ALG has grown into a shining example of America’s booming development and construction industry in the energy rich areas of North America.
The company’s core mission drives it to identify emerging trends in natural resource development throughout North America. Then, based on those tends, ALG commits to, what the team refers to, as long-range planning, which maintains balance to the environment and the people who live in these communities, while providing an infrastructure that addresses the high short-term growth and maintains long-term sustainability.
It seems that this commitment translates to economic progress benefiting individuals as much as the environment. A difficult balance, but Mitch Beckstead, managing partner for ALG, proudly admits to consistently delivering on that mission statement with each project.
“We’re a development company out of Salt Lake City, Utah, and saw incredible activity and growth in the Bakken region of western North Dakota and eastern Montana about three and a half years ago,” explains Beckstead. “We have been doing business since 2002 with Target Logistics providing housing for the Olympics in Salt Lake City, as well as Athens, Greece, and Torino, Italy.”
Beckstead goes on to note that Brian Lash, CEO of Target Logistics, reached out to him directly. “He contacted me and said we should consider doing permanent residential and commercial development in North Dakota,” Beckstead says. “He said infrastructure and utilities are in such demand that for the next several years, until we can catch up, temporary workforce housing will have to fill the housing gap. So we did our research and began purchasing land in critical areas that were in the path of oil development. Now we are in the middle of retail and residential developments in eastern Montana and western North Dakota.”
By implementing quality developments around the Bakken formation – an area ripe with oil development and economic possibilities – ALG helps ensure the financial gain from the oil boom remains within the area and also adds to a great quality of life for residents.
“Workers can buy homes, bring their families, spend their money in the nearby communities and enjoy a great quality of life in and around the Bakken,” explains Beckstead. “This benefits local communities as much as the nation at large.”
Big changes from a small company
Beckstead admits to there being only 10 staff workers at the company’s headquarters office, which is a surprisingly low number considering ALG simultaneously manages numerous large-scale projects. “We have a lot of contractors, designers, engineers and general contractors, along with a core group of 10 project directors, but that number could be in the hundreds companywide depending on what we have going on at any given time,” says Beckstead.
Currently, the company’s portfolio includes a long list of extensive building projects all across the North Dakota and Montana region. “We have a residential project in Sidney, Mont., that includes 130 twin homes,” says Beckstead. “We also have 130,000 square feet of flex office warehouse space, which would be for something like HVAC, electrical contractors plumbing or industrial supply. In addition we have 10,000 square feet of office space in Sidney. In Belfield, which is a 48-acre parcel North Dakota, we have platted for two hotels, 20,000 square feet of retail space, a grocery store, a convenience store and 165,000 square feet of flex office warehouse space. Phase I has a 100-room hotel, grocery store, convenience store gas station and 10,000 square feet of retail space.”
The company’s most recent project to-date, Watford, entails 100 twin home units to house new families and workers coming to the heart of Bakken. From there, Beckstead continues listing numerous projects currently in the works or close to completion, each aiming to help expand local economies by introducing infrastructure to the community. Homes, grocery stores, hotels for out-of-state workers; these vital additions are what allow people from across the country to work within the oil fields and still come home to a slice of civilized life every night.
Following the trends
As a company that bases its business on discovering trends, ALG must constantly be on the lookout for the next large-scale economic trend. The Bakken formation can only continue developing for so long before it plateaus, and the company must already be riding a new economic wave long before that happens.
“It’s about finding new development areas that are expanding similar to the oil industry in North Dakota,” explains Beckstead. “And providing something that we see as extremely critical – and that’s housing, retail and commercial – for the workers moving there from all over the world.”
Beckstead continues on to explain that communities need families, and families need a quality of life. “Employees need a place to live, a place to recreate and place to shop,” he details. “Employees work a lot of hours, but they do not work all the time, and when they are not working employees and their families need goods and services that until recently were not readily available. I have met many people new to the area and they routinely say, ‘We make good money, but there is nothing to spend it on here so we go home to spend it.’ We build cities because the people are coming to stay.”
Therefore, according to Beckstead, it’s a matter of finding where the money flows from and building a city nearby. “We’re looking to grow nationally,” says Beckstead. “We’re building in Utah, Nevada, Montana and North Dakota, and soon in Texas.”
According to Beckstead, the hardest part about building a city is finding the financial foundation. Even with the oil booms and the large influx of workers from around the world, and incredible demand for housing, goods and services, major banks are still reluctant to invest in new areas until they are time tested.
“Those are the challenges in North Dakota, it’s mainly traditional financing, it just isn’t there yet,” he continues. “In other words, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and the others, they’re looking at North Dakota as what is has been. And that is an agricultural area and, and until the major banks feel secure they will wait. So our construction and acquisition of land has been primarily out of pocket.”
Still, although the company must put out of pocket funds in up-front development, Beckstead and his team feel confident in ALG’s investment, along with the likes of Warren Buffet and Burlington Northern Railroad, Haliburton, Hess, Exxon and many other major corporations that have confidently spent billions on Bakken’s long-term oil industry. “ALG and others are proving that it is possible to build new industry and cities in the northern reaches of North America,” Beckstead says. American Landmark Group LLC has been changing the way Bakken employees within the oil industry work and live for nearly three years, and is showing no signs of stopping.
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