FARGO — As the 18-story Block 9 multi-use building rises out of the downtown skyline, project manager Keith Leier of Kilbourne Group said the project is on schedule and on budget.

The brutal winter set the project back, Leieir said, but two shifts have been working to accelerate construction the past few months. One shift has been working from 6 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with the other working from 2 to 9 p.m. In total, 160 people work on the project, but that will ramp up to about 250 when more interior work starts later this year.

Crews are currently pouring concrete on the 11th floor of the project with seven more floors to go.

"We've been kind of getting into a rhythm lately doing about a floor every two weeks," Leieir said.

He said they should reach the top floor, or 235 feet up, of the main tower by late September or early October.

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As for the budget for the two-year project, he said it's lining up right with projections for the construction phase of the project at $105 million with the main contractor McGough Construction Co. of Fargo. There's about another $12 million in other costs bringing the total to $117 million, Leier said.

As the floors go up, Leier said work on the exterior of the building that will happen. He said people should be able to see some of the exterior pre-cast walls going up with window work beginning soon. It will be fully enclosed by Christmas, Leier said, when the two cranes will be taken down.

That's when more interior work will begin on the building that will house the R.D. Offutt and Co. corporate headquarters and its 300 employees, as well as a restaurant, a 125-room hotel, other office and retail space and six condos on the top floors, including a $7 million top floor condo.

Leier said four of the six condos have been sold. He said announcements aren't ready to be made on the other tenants of the office and retail space as they work to fill the spots.

As for the new 380-vehicle parking garage next door, Leier said that is also on schedule with an opening scheduled for early or mid-August. Parking will be leased during the days or available for an hourly fee. Offutt employees and hotel guests will use the parking garage when the Block 9 building complete, but Leier said the garage will be open free of charge on nights and weekends.

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"We're real close to being done," he said.

Another phase of the project will begin next week when part of Broadway will be closed off to allow the contractor to hook up to underground water mains for the building's water supply and fire protection.

Leier said the underground work could take up to three weeks, although he hopes it can get done sooner. The hook-ups are on the west side of the street unfortunately, he said, so the road has to be closed.

The last phase of the project that will involve a community plaza to be wrapped up next summer. The plaza will have a splash pad, fountain and outdoor music stage in the summer, with an ice skating rink in the winter.