FARGO - HighRoad Partners will soon be on the road to Fargo.

The Moorhead-based insurance and human resources firm has begun renovating the building at 209 and 211 Northern Pacific Avenue, with completion of the $2.1 million project planned for early this fall.

The City Commission recently approved the application by HighRoad Properties for Renaissance Zone tax credits for the project, though the exact amount of those credits has not been determined, city officials said Thursday, April 22.

In addition, HighRoad purchased 213 NP Ave., which until recently was home for the charitable clothing center Open Doors 65. That building will be demolished to create off-street parking for HighRoad. Open Doors is moving to 307 Main Avenue.

HighRoad Partners CEO and President Michelle Kommer told The Forum that she wanted to find a location that was easily accessible for senior citizens with front-door parking, no congestion, a single-floor layout, and close to the company’s current office - in this case, about three-quarters of a mile west at 1001 Center Ave.

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Michelle Kommer, pictured Oct. 24, 2020, is president and CEO of HighRoad Partners.  David Samson / The Forum
Michelle Kommer, pictured Oct. 24, 2020, is president and CEO of HighRoad Partners. David Samson / The Forum

“We like the neighborhood – we are excited to be across the street from Vogel Law Firm as there is synergy to our work in the sense that we both work with small businesses, but our services do not overlap. And we are proud to be able to restore a building that has not been in use for years, to its former glory,” Kommer said in her email to The Forum.

The 11,200-square-foot building that makes up 209 and 211 NP will have about 5,916 square feet of commercial space on the ground floor, a 3,834-square-foot condominium on the second floor, and a 772-square-foot two-stall garage. The rest of the footage consists of ancillary spaces such as lobbies, corridors, and elevators, according to a city staff report.

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The building will get new heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, plumbing and electrical.

The storefront is to be rehabilitated to fit in with the historic feel of downtown Fargo. All of the windows will be replaced and new windows added to the western side of the building.

The total estimated investment is $2,115,000, with $977,500 being spent on the first floor commercial space and $987,500 on the second floor residential space.

Work has already begun on the building, Kommer said, with the aim of having it ready for use before October. She said some artifacts found in the building, such as two huge silver sliding doors, will be incorporated into the design. But there will also be new amenities, such as top-notch sound and video systems, an employee kitchen, and a large conference room that can be converted into smaller rooms.

“We think it’s a good project for downtown,” Nicole Crutchfield, the city’s director of planning and development said Thursday, April 22. “It meets all of our requirements. We think it’s a good addition. We’re always looking for investment downtown.”

Maegin Elshaug, the city’s urban development coordinator, said the rehab project “keeps an interesting building intact” and brings “a small business into the area in Fargo’s downtown.”

HighRoad Partners came into being in late 2020, after Kommer, a former North Dakota commerce commissioner, purchased Arneson Osvak Agency, a Moorhead firm that specialized in selling insurance policies to individuals and small businesses.

Kommer relaunched the business as HighRoad Partners and added "in-sourced" human resource services to its offerings.

The company’s website is highroadpartners.com. It has a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

In recent years, 209 NP Ave. had housed the Fargo Moorhead Community Bicycle Workshop and A&E Fashion.

Collectors World, an art gallery and vintage collectibles shop, had been in 211 NP Ave., until damage from a January 2020 water pipe break led to the shop's closure.