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Helmut Schmidt, Published April 23 2009

Downtown Fargo building to offer loft apartments

A building that has long been an eyesore in downtown Fargo will soon have new life, this time containing a dozen loft apartments.

Sterling Development Group Nine plans to turn the former Fargo Mental Health Building, 506 Roberts St. N., into apartments, said Kevin Bartram, president of Sterling Cos. and Mutchler Bartram Architects.

The $750,000 project on Wednesday received unanimous approval from the city’s Renaissance Zone Authority for $9,680 in property tax exemptions over five years, and $11,000 in income tax exemptions over five years.

The current value of the building and property is $136,000, city documents show.

Bartram said at one time the building was planned for office space, but “there just seems to be a demand” for apartments due to the amenities nearby.

Demand also may be fueled this fall with the opening of North Dakota State University’s downtown College of Business as students look for housing close to their classes.

The building will have a new roof, new windows, a new north entrance stairway and ramp, repairs to the brickwork, new paved parking, landscaping and walks, documents show.

The interior will be gutted and the mechanical and electrical systems will be replaced, documents show.

Bartram said his firm hopes to complete the project by summer’s end.

“The investment is outstanding,” said Roger Gilbertson, chairman of the Renaissance Zone Authority.

Near the building are two churches, a hospital and clinic, a theater, 12 restaurants, three bars, a bike shop, post office, bus route, coffee shop and several retail stores, Fargo Senior Planner Bob Stein said.

“Within a two-block area, this building has virtually everything,” Stein said.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583