Block 9 crane comes down after 16 months in Fargo's skyline

The last section of gantry is removed Tuesday, April 7, in dismantling a crane used to build Block 9 in downtown Fargo. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO — The construction crane for the Block 9 building, a part of Fargo's skyline for the past 16 months, was taken down Tuesday, April 7.

Project Manager Keith Leier of the Kilbourne Group said the 346-foot giant, in use from December 2018 to last week, was dismantled in major sections Tuesday. For the next few days, further disassembling of the crane will be done on the avenue below and hauled away.

A one-block section of Third Avenue North was blocked off to make room for the operation.

The crane was used exclusively for material handling, including steel, rebar, precast panels, windows, ductwork and roofing materials as the building was stretching upwards.


The trigger for being able to take it down, Leier said, was that all 18 floors of the building were up, the structure was watertight and elevators were in place inside the structure to haul other materials.

The last major task of the crane last week was lifting some precast concrete to the northwest corner of the building.

Besides handling materials, Leier said, the crane also served as a piece of emergency equipment in case someone was hurt on the upper floors. He said a bucket would have been attached to the crane to reach the upper levels in the event of an injury. Drills for using the crane in an emergency were held with the fire department every other month.

An elevator is now available in case of injuries on the upper floors.

The dismantling of the tallest crane follows removal of another 300-foot crane in February that was also used for material handling.

Crane operators walked up to the top cab every day it was in use.

In the past week, workers have been seen near the top of the building as they installed silver-colored panels on a 26-foot exterior portion of the 18th floor that houses the mechanical room. The panels have lighting on the interior side.

The panels, which go around the entire building, will be lit up at night, adding to the skyline of the city.


Block 9 at night.jpg
Crews are working on installing the silver panels and lighting on the 18th or top floor of the Block 9 building in downtown Fargo. The appearance of the building looking from the southwest is shown in this drawing above, inlcuding the 26-foot panels on the top floor which houses the mechanical room. Submitted drawing

Leier said that work has been some of the most challenging as there are tighter wind and safety restrictions in place in addition to the more difficult work involved.

Meanwhile, work on the $117 million structure that will house the new headquarters for the RD Offutt Co., a hotel, other office and business space, a bar-restaurant and six condominiums, including a featured residential unit that will take up the 17th floor, is on schedule to open later this year, possibly in October.

That's despite the coronavirus pandemic. Leier said the construction company is following OSHA rules to allow work to continue, including taking steps on separation, ending group gatherings, screening workers each morning to see how they are feeling and having a crew operating every day that spends its entire shift cleaning high-touch areas.

The structure along Broadway will be the second tallest building in the state behind only the State Capitol in Bismarck.

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