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Nakota Development Co, a Jacksonville, Florida-based real estate developer, is reaching way out for its latest venture: to Williston, North Dakota, where it is the first to franchise two Value Place extended-stay properties with up to 10 more to follow in three states. Rooms start at $700 a week, three times the rate at other Value Place hotels.

Why the premium? Way too many people and not enough places to stay. CEO Art Cahoon approached Value Place about developing the region after seeing companies flock to Williston and the Bakken shale to explore for oil. A former oilman himself, he first went to the Bakken to buy oil and gas minerals.  “I saw what was happening and thought, Shoot, you could make money doing anything out here,” he says.

“In Williams County, there are 6,000 guys in man camps,” he says.  “Man camps are like a glorified jail cell. There’s no whiskey and no women” allowed, yet a spot goes for $120 a night.  “And this is a bunch of single guys, and they’re making good wages. So a place where they can have some privacy, where they can have a full-size refrigerator, where they can microwave, we felt was attractive.“

Now, test your North Dakota knowledge:

  1. Oil production in the Bakken shale has increased from just 3,000 barrels a day in 2005 to more than how many barrels a day now?
  2. The unemployment rate in North Dakota is lowest in the country, at what percent?
  3. Population in Williston has increased to nearly 17,000, up by what percent in the past decade?
  4. RV parking spots around Williston are renting for how much per month?

Franchise trivia answers:

  1. 225,000. North Dakota is the second-biggest producer in the country now, after Texas.
  2. 3 percent.
  3. 34 percent; some estimates say Williston’s population will hit 150,000 by 2020.
  4. $1,000-$1,200 a month.
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