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Erik Burgess, Published July 08 2013

Fargo City Commission OKs FRS renovation, Fargodome study

FARGO – An old building downtown will get new life and the Fargodome will get a chance to expand following City Commission actions Monday.

Commissioners unanimously approved a Renaissance Zone project for the former Fargo Rubber Stamp building, 64 4th St. N.

Kilbourne Group, a leading downtown developer, will do the $2.1 million renovation of the 22,000-square-foot building.

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.

“This is a fantastic project,” planner Joe Nigg told the commission. “It should be a significant enhancement to that block.”

The timeline for the project is about 12 to 14 months, and the estimated exemptions under the Renaissance Zone program are $5,000 in income taxes and $175,000 in property taxes, Nigg said.

Fargo Rubber Stamp was housed in the building from 1966 until February 2012, when owner Kurt Kiefer moved the operation to Moorhead.

Commissioners on Monday also gave the OK for a feasibility study for a potential Fargodome expansion.

In its consent agenda, the commission unanimously approved a $95,000 budget for the study, which was given the initial OK by the Fargo Dome Authority on June 25.

The study was bid at $83,500 and is to be completed by HVS Convention, Sports and Entertainment Facilities Consulting of Chicago, according to Rob Sobolik, the dome’s general manager.

HVS will also study potential downtown locations for a new convention center after software magnate-turned-developer Doug Burgum suggested late last month that the Fargo Dome Authority look to build in what he called a convention-friendly downtown.

Sobolik has said the Fargodome expansion would likely be at least 50,000 square feet, and initial cost estimates are in the $34 million to $36 million range. The Dome Authority’s reserve fund has about

$34 million.

The feasibility study should be finished by mid- to late October. Dollars to fund the study are left over from other projects, Sobolik said.

As part of their consent agenda, commissioners also approved expanding the city’s wildlife management program, which allows for limited deer and turkey bow-hunting along the Red River corridor.

Commissioners approved adding 17 acres of land in Cass County and Stanley Township in the Forest River Subdivision to the program.

The city will be responsible for training and permitting hunters in those acres, but Cass County will be responsible for enforcement, said Nancy Morris, assistant city attorney.

The city is not adding permits to the program, only land, she said.

Mayor Dennis Walaker also mentioned that the commission chamber’s clock is finally ticking on time.

It had been running about five minutes fast, and Walaker told The Forum last week he wanted it fixed.

“Boy, it’s nice to have a clock that works,” the mayor said in the meeting.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518