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Dave Olson, Published August 10 2012

$1.5 million bid isn't enough to get Syndicate Block in downtown Fargo

FARGO – Kilbourne Group, a local developer of historic buildings, bid $1.55 million for a large piece of downtown Fargo on Friday at an auction here.

The bid was the highest, but it wasn’t good enough for Nachhattar Gill, owner of the Syndicate Block building at First Avenue North and Broadway.

Gill said no thank you to the offer and ended the auction without selling the building, which was built in the 1890s.

In recent years, many storefronts in what is known as the Syndicate Block have sat vacant, something Kilbourne Group was hoping to change, hinted Mike Allmendinger, the company’s general manager.

“Kilbourne Group was looking forward to seeing additional businesses and having this building activated in downtown Fargo,” Allmendinger said.

Retail stores and eating and drinking establishments could play a part in that, he said.

Bob Zielsdorf, Friday’s auctioneer, said would-be buyers will get letters letting them know what price point would be more likely to achieve a sale.

He declined to answer questions following the auction.

Before the auction started, Zielsdorf told the handful of interested groups that the property, which houses apartments and other rental space, generates $200,000 in annual revenue.

Zielsdorf quoted the answer he received from Gill when he asked Gill why he was selling the building:

“I have three children; all three are doctors. I just turned 65. They (the children) want mom and I to come home,” Zielsdorf quoted Gill as answering.

Gill said after the auction he is happy to keep the building.

“Maybe I’m good for another 15 years,” he said.

Fargo businessman Marty Riske was among those who showed up for the auction.

Riske, who operates MJ Capelli and VidCycle stores, said he attended more to observe than to buy because he isn’t sure what retail concept would be a match with the building.

“I didn’t really have an idea for it right now,” he said.

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