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Dave Olson, Published February 13 2014

Fargo may redraw Renaissance Zone boundaries

FARGO – Officials here are planning a full review of the city’s Renaissance Zone development plan, with an eye toward changing its boundaries.

The review will be completed by this summer, but the Renaissance Zone Authority gave its support to an immediate small change Thursday.

Board members recommended approval of a request from Kilbourne Group, a downtown development company intent on breathing new life into an old church.

Kilbourne Group asked that a property that once housed the congregation of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church at 670 4th Ave. N. be included in the city’s Renaissance Zone. When buildings in the zone are renovated, a developer can qualify for up to five years of breaks on property and income taxes.

Kilbourne Group said the move and the tax advantages it could provide would help the company’s efforts to repair and remodel the church property it acquired last year.

When Kilbourne Group bought the property, which church members said they could no longer afford, the developer said its plan was to solicit ideas from the public on how best to use the historic structure.

The company has yet to settle on a plan for the building, but ideas range from office space to an event center or collaborative space, Kilbourne Group CFO Margaret Asheim told the Renaissance Zone board.

The board agreed to move the property into the Renaissance Zone. That will require other downtown areas be removed because state law restricts the Renaissance Zone to 38 blocks. City officials said affected blocks will be notified of the potential change before the recommendation proceeds to the City Commission.

Once the more comprehensive review of the plan is finished, it will be submitted to the state this fall.

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