Authentic Housing taking part in national design innovation project

The Public Benefit Corporation is seeking to get the City of Fargo's nod to build 181 units of affordable housing in the city's downtown. Kilbourne Group is seeking approval to build one of its mixed-use housing and commercial projects on the same land.

Authentic Housing 419 Third Street North.jpg
This is a rendering of what a possible housing project project proposed by Authentic Housing might look like along Fargo's riverfront at 419 3rd St. N.
Contributed: Authentic Housing
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FARGO — Authentic Housing, a for-profit corporation seeking to win the City of Fargo's nod to build an affordable housing project downtown, is joining with two of the region’s biggest universities in a competition that will award winning teams up to $500,000 apiece for designs that use mass timber, while aggressively lowering the carbon footprint of the proposed projects.

The Public Benefit Corporation is partnering with the University of Minnesota and the University of North Dakota in the 2022 Mass Timber Competition. The competition will award $2 million in funding in grants of up to $500,000 to the winners. The competition is funded by the Softwood Lumber Board and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Authentic Housing is competing against the Kilbourne Group to build on land at 419 3rd St. N., the site of a former Fargo School District warehouse.

The $40 million Authentic Housing project as presented would provide 181 living spaces, from studio to four-bedroom apartments, offering affordable rents and utility payments.

Cathy McGath, one of the founders of Authentic Housing, says the project would provide median rents that are 20% lower than the metro area median, and considerably lower than rents reported by Kilbourne Group. She said the project will also have space for child care and a grocery store.


Kilbourne Group, a well-known downtown Fargo developer, has offered three mixed-use options for the site including a 75-unit project for $15 million, a 115-unit structure for $25 million and a $67 million project that would also involve buying the former Fargo school district administrative office building next door.

The city’s Economic Development Incentives Committee and Renaissance Zone Authority Committee have scheduled a joint meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday, March 22, at City Hall to decide which project will be recommended to the City Commission for approval.

Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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