Proposed $30 million redevelopment along South University Drive to go before planning commission

The five-story building, with a mix of commercial space, apartments and heated parking, is planned to replace the aging South Plaza mall.

The South Plaza strip mall and several homes on the west side of the mall are slated to be removed under a plan by BLOC Partners LLC to build a five-story, multi-use building called BLOC on the site.
David Samson/The Forum
We are part of The Trust Project.

FARGO — BLOC, a mixed-use redevelopment project proposed earlier this year for the 1600 block of South University Drive, will get an introduction to the city’s Planning Commission on Tuesday, Dec. 6.

Later that day, an open house will be held 5 to 6:30 p.m. in the Sky Commons Conference Center of the Civic Center at 207 4th St. N. Property owners living within a quarter mile of the 1600 block — which currently holds the 1950s-era South Plaza strip mall and about 10 rental homes — have been directly invited to the event, with notifications also going out on social media.

Tuesday's hearing is for review and comment, not formal action. Formal consideration of the project by the Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 3, a city memo said.

The proposed BLOC commercial and apartment complex, planned to replace the South Plaza mall and some homes on the 1600 block of Fargo's South University Drive, is depicted as viewed from the southeast in this rendering.
Contributed / BLOC Partners LLC

BLOC Partners, LLC, proposes to redevelop the block, putting up a five-story building with 15,258-square-feet of commercial space, heated underground parking, heated indoor parking on the ground floor, and four floors above offering 127 apartments, which will be a mix of one- and two-bedroom units.

Related stories
Craig Development is planning a mixed-use building on the entire city block.

Construction is planned to start in 2023, according to information shared in Planning Commission documents.


“The largest impact by this project are (sic) the removal of an entire city block of blight and disrepair and in doing so we bring back the safety of the area all the while retaining three current tenants that are important to the identity and character of the neighborhood,” according to an explanation included with the project’s details.

Duane’s House of Pizza has said it will be one of the businesses remaining and that it would be moving into the new building.

The project was introduced early this year by developer Jesse Craig of Fargo-based Craig Development.

In a brief email exchange Friday, Dec. 2, Craig wrote that he would be making presentations at both meetings and that he would present the development timeline.

The CJ's Kitchen is slated to be removed as part of the plan by BLOC Partners LLC to build a five-story, multi-use building called BLOC on the site.
David Samson/The Forum

Craig told The Forum in March of this year that he had signed a purchase agreement to take ownership of the South Plaza shopping area on June 1. At that time, South Plaza was the home to 11 businesses. However, since then, at least one business— CJ’s Kitchen — closed after the owners were told that their lease would not be renewed.

When the project was announced, the cost was pegged at $30 million. Craig said he hoped to get Tax Increment Financing from the city to help underwrite some of the costs of redeveloping the entire block.

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.
What To Read Next
An extended duration of temperatures hitting above 30 degrees will allow the city to have plows scrape the built-up ice off residential streets.
“Why would we create new major programs, when we can’t even fund the programs that we have?” a public education lobbyist said in opposition to Noem's three-year, $15 million proposal.
Owners Tim and Elaine Gaslin say a changing market and the 11th Street underpass project prompted them to close their physical location, but they'll still sell CDs and DVDs online.
John Bultman recently received notice from the city of Fargo that the business he has operated for 42 years violates city ordinances and he was given until March 30 to shut down.