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Dave Olson, Published November 30 2012

Fargo parking officials keen on ramp plans

FARGO – Members of Fargo’s Parking Commission voiced strong support Friday for a parking ramp at Roberts Street and Second Avenue North.

Mike Williams, the board’s chairman and a city commissioner, said he wants a parking ramp to happen more quickly than similar projects have in the past.

“We don’t need to use the old formulas. We need to move forward on it faster,” said Williams, who spoke at Friday’s Parking Commission meeting by phone from Boston, where he was attending a conference.

Williams said that from his hotel window he could see a Boston parking ramp that incorporated retail space and other uses similar to what Kilbourne Group, a Fargo development company, is looking to do in the area of the U.S. Bank plaza in downtown Fargo.

Doug Burgum, chairman and founder of Kilbourne Group, said at Friday’s meeting that Kilbourne Group supports the city building a parking ramp at Roberts Street and one near the US Bank plaza, where Kilbourne Group holds an option to purchase land.

The company unveiled plans last summer for what it calls the Block 9 project, which envisions housing, commercial, retail and hospitality space built around and atop a multi-tier parking ramp. It would be located partly on city-owned land and partly on land Kilbourne Group has an option to buy.

Company officials say the scale of the project ultimately will depend on the businesses willing to participate.

Drawings presented on Friday showed a potential configuration that included retail, parking, residential, office and hotel space reaching 22 stories high.

The nearby Radisson Hotel, touted as the second- tallest building in North Dakota, is 18 stories high.

Burgum said mixed-use parking ramps are proving successful elsewhere, including Lincoln, Neb., where a 10-story complex recently went up.

The parking ramp associated with that project contained 533 parking units, according to Burgum, who said that by combining parking, hotel and retail space in one structure, “You get to use that land value three times.”

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