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Dave Olson, Published July 26 2012

U.S. Bank extends purchase option on downtown Fargo plaza

FARGO – Kilbourne Group will have another year to refine development plans for a downtown Fargo plaza.

The company announced Thursday that U.S. Bank has extended the real estate option agreement Kilbourne Group and the bank signed in 2009 regarding 1.1 acres of land U.S. Bank owns in downtown Fargo that is now plaza and parking space.

The bank building itself is not part of the option.

Kilbourne Group has hired Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP as lead architects on a development project Kilbourne Group is exploring for the plaza area.

“This is a really unique opportunity for a city to have this much vacant land at essentially the 50-yard line of Broadway and to be able to do something really interesting and significant and forward looking,” Doug Burgum, chairman and founder of Kilbourne Group, said in a phone interview.

Support lines up

In a written statement, Burgum said all of the parties involved understand the significance of “this central Broadway block” to the future of the city’s downtown.

“Our design vision is to develop an innovative and collaborative mixed-use project … while creating partnerships with a high-capacity, city-owned parking ramp,” Burgum said.

U.S. Bank endorses the plan, according to Delton Steele, regional president for U.S. Bank in southeast North Dakota.

“The Kilbourne Group has been working on developing interesting concepts that will continue to ensure that the downtown Fargo community remains a vibrant center for the cultural, residential and business community for years to come,” Steele said in the statement released by Kilbourne Group.

A phone message left for Bob Stein, senior planner for the city of Fargo, was not returned as of Thursday evening.

Stein said in the statement released by Kilbourne Group that he and other city officials are excited the company “continues to set a high standard in downtown development.”

A mix

The statement said plans for the plaza include an updated plaza on the corner of Second Avenue and Broadway, as well as a collection of retail, business, residential and leasable space.

The concept is based on feedback from the public and a design competition held in 2010, the company said

Burgum said TMI Hospitality, a Fargo-based builder and operator of hotels, is helping with ideas for the project, including an extended-stay hotel.

“Downtown continues to be one of Fargo’s most unique neighborhoods, and its thriving economy has created a demand for additional hotels,” Rick Larson, president of TMI Hospitality, said in the statement released by Kilbourne Group.

‘Catalyst’

Kilbourne Group said it will now focus on designs and firming up agreements with tenants.

The company could break ground within a year, according to Mike Allmendinger, Kilbourne Group’s general manager.

Burgum said the goal is to build on momentum that has propelled the city’s core forward over the past 10 years.

The plaza project, he said, “could be an exciting catalyst for the continued progress of the great revitalization we’re seeing in downtown Fargo.”

Citing figures released by Forbes.com, Kilbourne Group said building values downtown increased 100 percent between 2000 and 2009, and the company pointed out that Fargo’s downtown recently made Forbes’ top 10 list of Most Transformed Neighborhoods.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555


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