FARGO - Signaling the end to the first phase of renovations that began in late 2010, the Radisson quietly opened its new lounge to the public Saturday.

The upscale and contemporary lounge features a street-level view of life in downtown Fargo.

Located just off the lobby, the lounge aims to appeal to the weary traveler looking for a cocktail after check-in, as well as area residents looking for another stop during a night out downtown.

The lounge features a full bar and appetizers described by Sandi Adams, Radisson owner and general manager, as "upscale comfort food." The menu includes reasonably priced items such as flatbread pizzas, meatloaf sliders, risotto and chipotle hummus.

Lounge hours are 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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The Radisson's multimillion-dollar renovation began in September 2010 when the hotel's first floor was extended out to the sidewalk on Second Avenue North. That expansion now houses the new lounge.

Also included in the first phase were a redesign of the front desk area, an updated business center and new public restrooms.

The biggest structural change was the installation of a lobby staircase, which was not included in the original design of the hotel. Guests who wanted to take the stairs before were forced to use the parking garage entrance.

Now that the lounge is open, the second-floor lounge and portions of the restaurant are closed for renovations. The hotel's fitness center, banquet areas and ballroom are getting revamped, as well.

Adams admits it has been a challenge to keep the hotel operating during the renovations, which were expected to be complete in the spring of 2011. She attributes delays to the scope of the project as well as to problems with product delivery.

The hotel had not had a facelift since it was built in 1985. Adams said the remodel was needed in order to stay competitive.

"We are a business hotel," said Adams. "We get people who travel here from all over the world. We want them to experience Fargo just like every place else," said Adams.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501