FARGO — Dramatic new housing and commercial projects could be dotting the east side of downtown Fargo in the next few years.
Jim Gilmour, the city's strategic planner, released proposals this past week from seven developers from throughout the region who offered plans for housing and commercial projects on three parcels of city property.
The projects, which show growing local and regional interest in the booming downtown, range from strictly housing developments to mixed-use structures to an upscale hotel plan.
Gilmour said he is referring the proposals to both the city's Tax Exempt Review Committee and the Renaissance Zone Authority for their recommendations before bringing it to the Fargo City Commission for their final decision, likely in January.
The city strategic planner said he was surprised with a few of the proposals that rolled in earlier this month that he didn't expect.
The projects could start later next year and most would involve some type of property tax break, with some seeking financial help through the newly created Tax Increment Financing district covering the east side of downtown that can assist with certain phases of developing properties.
Here are the proposals for the three parcels of property:
1 Second Street South
This riverfront piece of property is along Main Avenue and Second Street next to the roundabout and near Veterans Memorial Bridge.
Three local companies offered plans for the property that serves as a gateway entrance, not only Fargo, but also North Dakota from Minnesota.
Thus, the projects all offer unique designs, with residences offering dramatic views of the river, and would bring the highest prices for the land.
The three offers are:
- Beyond Shelter Inc. and Foss Architecture and Interior of Fargo: The nonprofit company that has developed 286 other affordable housing units for senior citizens in Fargo is proposing a 51-unit. five story apartment building also for seniors, although with some commercial space on the first floor. The $16.3 million structure would includes federal housing aid to keep the apartments affordable to low-income residents. Below ground and other enclosed parking would be offered. They offered the city $650,005 for the land.
- EagleRidge Development Co.: The Fargo company is offering a $35 million, seven-story building with 57 for-sale condos, three stories of office space and one story of commercial space. The condos would be on the top five stories. Other amenities are rooftop patios and second level parking. EagleRidge has developed apartments, homes and commercial space across North Dakota cities. The company offered $1.5 million for the land.
- Epic Companies: The West Fargo-based company is proposing to add another mixed-use building to The Gateway structure along Main Avenue, which opened in October, and The Arch, which is under construction next door. This new $23 million, seven-story building would have commercial space on the first floor, 37 apartments on the third and fourth floors and 30 for-sale condos on floors five through seven. Parking would be on the second level. Already the Gateway, home to the Fryin Pan restaurant, has 53 apartments while the new L-shaped Arch will be seven stories with 30 apartments and 34 condos with additional commercial spots. The company offered $1.18 million for the land.
401 Third Avenue North
The abandoned former city public health office structure, which includes a parking lot, would be razed and replaced with a new structure in the heart of downtown. The building has been empty for several years and was most recently used as a temporary city office space.
There were two offers for the property:
- GreenAcre Companies and Lloyd Companies: The Sioux Falls-based developers would put a combination upscale hotel and residential apartment building on the site, which also borders Fourth Street. The six-story structure would feature 115 hotel rooms and 108 apartments. The firms said they have been in talks with Marriot on what could be an upscale AC Hotel and would hire the same architectural firm, ESG Architecture of Minneapolis, who designed the nearby Jasper Hotel's interior. The plan would include a restaurant/lounge, ballroom and underground parking. Their offer for the property was $500,000.
- MBA Investments: The Fargo-based development and architectural company is proposing a five-story, 68-unit apartment building. The company stated they weren't planning any commercial space to avoid competing with existing businesses and reduce on-site parking needs. The $12 million to $13 million project would instead offer enclosed first floor parking. The offer for the property was also $500,000.
419 Third Street North
The single-story former school district warehouse building would have to be demolished to make room for what were two offers for major residential projects along the riverfront.
The two offers were from what one called a Public Benefit Corporation that works on affordable housing and the other from the long-time staple of downtown development, the Kilbourne Group.
The two offers are:
- Authentic Housing: The national company, with an office in St. Paul, sent a lengthy letter outlining their plans on affordable housing, a long-term outlook and environmental considerations. The $51 million project would include 181 units offering views of the Red River. They would seek federal and state housing finance aid to make the units more affordable. The company suggests paying for the land on its appraised value using a contract for deed.
- Kilbourne Group: The Fargo company that has focused on downtown for the past 15 years offered three options for the property including a 75-unit project for $15 million, a 115-unit structure for $25 million and a massive $67 million project that would also involve buying the former Fargo school district administrative office building next door. The company emphasized the apartments would offer dramatic views of the river to the east and of the downtown skyline to the west. The company's offer is $162,984 for the land. They said the school district office property is listed at $4 million.