MANNING — Target Logistics is temporarily closing its massive crew camp in southern Dunn County, the company said Wednesday.
Citing dwindling capacity and low oil prices, the company says plans to close the nearly 600-bed crew camp 8 miles north of Dickinson and reopen in late spring or early summer.
“The capacity is down, somewhat due to the oil situation and somewhat due to the weather,” said Randy Pruett with Pierpont Communications, which provides media relations for Target Logistics. “This is not uncommon throughout the crew camp industry.”
Pruett said he didn’t know exactly when the camp was closing, but said those staying there were being relocated to other Target Logistics properties in North Dakota.
The news was announced earlier in the day at the Dunn County Commission meeting.
Sandy Rhode, Dunn County’s planning and zoning code administrator, said she received an email from Target Logistics last Thursday stating its plans.
“It wasn’t shocking,” Rhode said. “I had understood that the occupancy had been down. Why they chose to close it, I don’t know.”
The Dunn County Lodge opened in March 2012 and, with 596 beds, is the third-largest crew camp of all Target Logistics properties.
Overall, the company has about 4,075 beds at 12 properties in North Dakota–the largest of which is the Tioga Lodge with 858 beds and 100 RV spots–and nearly 7,900 total beds at 18 properties in the U.S.
“All the other facilities in the Bakken are open and thriving,” Pruett said.
Gaylon Baker, the executive vice president of the Stark Development Corp., said he suspects the vast amount of hotel and apartment vacancies in Dickinson–with much lower prices than could be had at the height of the boom, when the Dunn County Lodge first opened–had an impact on Target Logistics’ decision.
Terri Thiel, director of the Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau, said there are about 700 more hotel rooms in the city today than when the Dunn County Lodge opened.
“It certainly is a reflection of a preference of workers to live in accommodations that are of their choosing,” Baker said. “When given a choice, a motel is probably a more comfortable place to be. … Since prices have moderated, those options have come available to those workers, so they make whatever choice is better for them.”
Baker said despite housing a large number of people–if at capacity, the Dunn County Lodge is as big as some small towns in southwest North Dakota–the crew camp never made a discernible economic impact on Dickinson. He said the camp provided those staying there with food, lodging and, often, entertainment opportunities.
“Not a lot of consumer-type spending comes from there,” Baker said.
Pruett said he didn’t have numbers on how many people the Dunn County Lodge employs, but said it was at capacity at different times “prior to the changes in the energy business.”
Rhode said there are two other crew camps still operating in Dunn County, including one privately owned by Nabors Drilling. However, she said both are much smaller than the Target Logistics camp.