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Wendy Reuer, Published January 08 2011

Shotwell Floral location sold to T.L. Stroh

The corner of Eighth Street and 13th Avenue South in Fargo is now home to Shotwell Floral and Greenhouse – an easily recognized white cottage – but it may soon give way to some high-end townhomes.

Terry Stroh of Fargo’s T.L. Stroh Architects approached floral owner John Shotwell last year, proposing to buy the property for a 10-townhome residential development to be named Shotwell Commons. Shotwell agreed, and will sell the land and the structures to T.L. Stroh.

Stroh said each of the estimated $500,000 townhomes will be customized to buyers. The homes are geared toward “empty-nesters,” and some have already come forward with interest.

Those interested in the townhomes are longtime area residents or grew up in the Eighth Street area, said Stroh, who added that this type of high-end townhome is not a common option in the Fargo-Moorhead area.

The 10 homes will be separated by an alley accessible from 13th Avenue, with a courtyard view from bedroom windows. The two-story townhouses will offer an open living area on the main level, with a bedroom, bathroom and bonus space on the second level. The homes will likely be built with 2,785 square feet of finished space and a 1,000-square-foot unfinished basement.

Stroh said he has been interested in designing a project for the Eighth Street area for a long time. He and his wife consider it one of their favorite areas. He said he also would like to live in one of the Shotwell homes.

“The site is pretty historic. This is really quite an honor to (design) this,” Stroh said.

The exterior of the homes is designed to blend with the vintage character of the neighborhood. Stroh plans to form a neighborhood association of townhouse owners for regulations and upkeep.

“We tried to stay with the vernacular of the neighborhood,” Stroh said. “That is one of the reasons we went with the two stories.”

The Shotwell land has an interesting history. The Fargo Country Club began operating on the property and surrounding area in 1916. By 1923, it had expanded to be the first 18-hole golf course in the state.

The club never owned the land but squatted there, welcomed by neighbors and Fargo residents who rode horse and buggy to reach what was a rural area at the time, according to articles published in The Forum.

The clubhouse was built in 1917 but destroyed in a September 1933 fire. Caretakers – a married couple – were sleeping upstairs at the time and narrowly escaped, according to a Forum article.

The 1934 Fargo city directory listed the rebuilt clubhouse address as 1½ miles south of 1300 5th St. S.

Shotwell operates the Shotwell Floral and Greenhouse business out of two locations, the second on 40th Street and 40th Avenue in Fargo.

He said as the family looked at the future of the floral business, they decided to consolidate the properties into the south Fargo location.

“It seems to make a lot of sense, and it seems to be a right move,” Shotwell said.

Stroh and associates are scheduled to appear before the Fargo City Commission Monday to request tax increment financing for the project.

Members of the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association – a neighborhood group works on beautification and planning projects in that area – did not return phone messages seeking comment.

If the city approves plans and nearly all homes are sold, construction would begin Oct. 1, Stroh said. Completion is scheduled for summer 2012.

Shotwell said it will be difficult to watch his family’s building be razed but believes what Stroh has proposed will be a benefit to Fargo.

“I want it to be classy. I want it to look nice. I want it to fit well into the neighborhood,” Shotwell said. “I think it will be a good fit for the neighborhood; I hope it will anyway.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530