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Trollwood Village apartments, retail complex in Fargo changes hands: 'There's so much potential here!'

Emily and Erik Gunderson take over from family that created the northside urban village.

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Erik and Emily Gunderson, pictured Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023, are the new owners of the Trollwood Village apartments and retail complex in north Fargo.
David Samson/Forum Communications Co.
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FARGO — The Trollwood Village Apartments and Convenience Center, a fixture in north Fargo, has a new set of owners.

At the end of December, Emily and Erik Gunderson closed on the purchase of the complex from the family of Norman Triebwasser, who developed Trollwood Village.

“It’s been a staple on the north side. It’s been here forever,” Emily Gunderson said Monday, Jan. 16.

“I’m a northsider born and raised. It’s a big deal to us,” Gunderson said.

“There’s so much potential here. A lot of people don’t know about it. A lot of people think it’s just a 55 and older building,” she said.

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There are four apartment buildings at 3105 Broadway N., with 185 apartments. The Convenience Center is a commercial/retail area that includes several businesses, among them Revolution Personal Training Studio, Trollwood Barbers, Village Hair Design, and the Trollwood Village Senior Center. Gunderson said there’s room for more.

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Gunderson said the Triebwasser family approached her and her husband “to keep it as a family-run company.”

The Gundersons have operated a rental property company in the region for about 20 years, with “properties in Fargo, Detroit Lakes, Casselton, Dilworth, Moorhead, a little of everywhere,” she said.

But the acquisition of Trollwood Village was “a big chunk for us. It pretty much doubled our portfolio,” Emily Gunderson said.

She declined to share the purchase price.

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The Trollwood Village complex in north Fargo is seen on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2023.
David Samson/Forum Communications Co.

According Forum’s archives:

The land at Broadway and 32nd Avenue North was first developed as a commercial center in the 1970s, with the opening of the Valley North Mall in 1975. The mall had a good start, with the first two tenants being a Piggly Wiggly grocery store and a White Drug pharmacy.

The mall was full by 1978, despite competition from the nearby Northport Shopping Center and the growing West Acres Shopping Center in south Fargo.

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However, by 1980, the developer had run into financial difficulties, and three Midwest insurance companies holding mortgages on the property sought to foreclose.

The anchor tenants eventually opted to leave. Piggly Wiggly closed at the end of December 1982. White Drug closed in mid-December 1984.

In August 1986, local architect Norman Triebwasser sought bonding help from the city of Fargo to redevelop the mall into a senior housing complex with retail space - an urban village. Initially, the Fargo City Commission turned down the request.

But several weeks later, in September 1986, the commission narrowly voted to approve $8 million in Municipal Industrial Development Act bonds to support the $10 million project by Triebwasser and Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance of Minneapolis.

By mid-1987, the first phase construction had begun for what eventually became four apartment buildings (originally marketed to seniors), and 30,000 square feet of commercial and retail space.

In 1988, Forum reporter Philip Matthews wrote that the redevelopment at 3105 Broadway N. was “a stunning turnaround” for the area. Within a couple of years, the commercial parts of Trollwood Village were 100% rented, Forum reports said.

Norman Triebwasser died in 2005.

Emily Gunderson said she’d like to revive that sort of vigor, with more merchants to serve the apartments and surrounding neighborhoods.

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“I just really think for the mall part, it would be fun to keep some northside businesses alive, and work with people (who are) maybe starting out a business, and just keep the north side a quiet, happy place to live for people,” Gunderson said.

“So far, the tenants have been just absolutely so amazing, and welcoming, and also giving us grace as we transition and just try and find our way around. It’s a big place!” she said.

“We just really want to focus on the amenities that are here and (add) amenities for the tenants. What are things that they would like? How we can work together with people in the community to keep those amenities here? Bring in more amenities for the tenants, and more businesses for the north side,” Gunderson said.

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