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Wendy Reuer, Published June 23 2013

Kilbourne seeks Renaissance Zone approval for FRS building

FARGO – Kilbourne Group could be one step closer to breathing new life into an old downtown building on Tuesday.

The Renaissance Zone Authority is meeting Tuesday to consider Kilbourne Group’s application to remodel the former FRS building at 64 4th St. N.

Kilbourne Group purchased the 22,000-square-foot former Fargo Rubber Stamp building last year and proposes to invest $2.1 million into restorations.

The group already received the initial committee nod of approval for a Community Development Block Grant approval for window replacement. The grant is pending final City Commission approval.

“But we cannot start any construction until the renaissance zone process is complete,” said Mark Johnson, Kilbourne Group project manager.

Johnson said renovations will include removing the current stucco panels that cover the many windows and adding a new storefront that matches one in historic photos of the building.

“Every historic window opening will receive a new window unit to bring back the character of when the building was first built in 1916,” Johnson said.

When the building is fully remodeled, 17,000 square feet – about 5,600 per floor – will be available for lease as office space with the option of installing retail on the first floor, he said.

Kilbourne Group is known for bringing historic buildings back to life after years of wear and sometimes misuse have faded their glory. So far, most buildings, such as 300 Broadway and the Loretta Block, have been along Broadway in downtown Fargo.

Kilbourne Group Chairman Doug Burgum said last year he hoped to see downtown revitalization expand beyond Broadway. Planning Administrator Nicole Crutchfield said the new project helps do that.

Crutchfield said part of the city’s long-range plan includes finding ways to increase the availability of places to live and work in downtown Fargo.

“We’re excited that this is a new block that is being redeveloped,” she said. “So there are many potential areas other than just on Broadway.”

Fargo Rubber Stamp Works, also known as FRS, was located at 64 4th St. N. from 1966 until February 2012, when owner Kurt Kiefer moved the operation to Moorhead.

The FRS building, or Loudon Building, is one-half of what is known to most locals as the Ball-Loudon building. The two buildings were combined to appear as one. The Ball Building, or the west side, at 65 5th St. N., was the longtime home of Doyle Yellow Checker Cab Inc.

“This project will make use of a structure that has long been underutilized,” Fargo planner Joe Nigg wrote in the Renaissance Authority application.

If granted Renaissance Zone approval, the project will be eligible for future property and income tax exemptions from the city.

Kilbourne Group wants to begin construction in 2013, with completion in 12 to 14 months.


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