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Penthouse at a price

When The New York Times mentions your available real estate in a front-page news story, it can't hurt getting the word out to prospective buyers. But when the prospective real estate is a $540,000 penthouse in downtown Fargo, well, that word gets...

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When The New York Times mentions your available real estate in a front-page news story, it can't hurt getting the word out to prospective buyers.

But when the prospective real estate is a $540,000 penthouse in downtown Fargo, well, that word gets back to the curious among us.

What kind of condo, pray tell, costs more than a half-million dollars in downtown Fargo?

Turns out we didn't have to look far - it's being built to look out at the iconic Fargo Theatre marquee.

The penthouse atop a $5.4 million soon-to-be-completed retail and condo project at 300 Broadway was referred to but not named in a front-page story in Saturday's New York Times. Continued work on the overall property was used to illustrate how North Dakota is enjoying economic growth despite recession fears nearly everywhere else.

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While the two-story penthouse is getting the attention these days, 300 Broadway also features 8,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space, a two-story atrium entrance and a 78-seat movie theater connected to the Fargo Theatre. Much of it will be ready for occupancy by January, said project manager Mike Allmendinger, who works with the Kilbourne Group developing the area.

The single-bedroom condos on the south side of the building range from 1,074 square feet to 1,211 square feet and are priced at $244,000 to $284,000, he said. The two-bedroom units on the north side range from 1,500 square feet to 1,700 square feet and are priced from $338,000 to $390,000.

All of the 17 condos have walk-out "front porch" spaces on Broadway. The building also has a dog run for pets. Fourth-floor condos will have fifth-floor rooftop decks.

The 2,000-square-foot penthouse condo, the only unit with an enclosed fifth-floor living space, is not finished, but Allmendinger is proud of its views out to the Red River greenway to the east.

Construction on the 47,800-square-foot building was started in what was a parking lot south of the Fargo Theatre in November 2007.

Realtor Carol Raney of Fargo's Park Co. Realtors said granite countertops, hardwood floors, tiled showers and solid-core doors are standard in the building. The condos also have many options for customization, Allmendinger said.

But 300 Broadway isn't the only high-end condo space now available for purchase in downtown Fargo.

According to the Multiple Listing Service, there are nine other condo units now on the market in Fargo's downtown. Among them:

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E A 2,078-square-foot unit at 12 Broadway N. for $449,900.

E A 2,390-square-foot unit at 300 NP Ave. N. for $394,500.

E A 1,939-square-foot unit at 111 Roberts St. N. for $349,000.

E A 1,229-square-foot unit at 12 Broadway N. for $249,000.

Realtor Raney said condos are selling downtown. If there's a problem for the local housing market, it's that workers transferring in from elsewhere - particularly Minnesota and Michigan - are having a hard time selling their former homes, she said.

Downtown condo buyers get Renaissance Zone benefits, including no property taxes for five years, and a five-year, $10,000-per-year North Dakota income tax exemption, which make the properties attractive, Raney said.

Allmendinger said there's a growing interest in refilling unused urban spaces and "smart city growth."

"We're very excited about the amount of interest in downtown Fargo," he said. "The Kilbourne Group really believes in the idea of building the core of downtown Fargo."

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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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