McFeely: How much is Block 9 penthouse view of Fargo worth? Maybe $7 million

Residences in downtown tower are on the market, and they'll be among most expensive real estate in Fargo-Moorhead

Block 9 penthouse kitchen.jpg
Artist's rendering of the penthouse kitchen in the Block 9 building in downtown Fargo, which is currently under construction. The penthouse condominium is listed for nearly $3.8 million.
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A penthouse view of Fargo could cost somebody $7 million.

Or more.

We don't know for sure, because the top residential floor of the 232-foot-tall Block 9 building is not listed as being for sale, but other residences inside the under-construction downtown high-rise are on the market — and they are expensive. Among the most spendy residential real estate in Fargo, in fact.

There will be seven residential units taking three upper floors of Block 9 — a single penthouse on the 17th floor, two units (also coined penthouses in the sales listing) on the 16th floor and four condominiums on the 15th floor. Some of the units are currently on the market, according to Scott Neal. He is the president of the R.D. Offutt Co.'s real estate division, which owns the three residential floors of the $117 million project that is a partnership between R.D. Offutt and the Kilbourne Group.

Block 9 will also include retail, restaurants, offices, a hotel and serve as the corporate headquarters of R.D. Offutt Co.


Block 9 streetview.jpg
The mixed-use Block 9 development will include apartments, retail, restaurants, offices, a hotel and will serve as the corporate headquarters of R.D. Offutt Co.

Real-estate listings show the two residences on the 16th floor for sale at $3.8 million each and the four condos on the 15th floor at $1.7 million apiece.

To be technical, the list prices are $3,744,900 and $1,682,900. But what's tens of thousands of dollars among friends? We're getting into Manhattan territory here anyway.

And if you're wondering, a 20-percent down payment on $3.8 million would be $760,000. At 4.2 percent interest on the remaining mortgage, the monthly payment would be in the neighborhood of $15,000.
But the old saw probably applies: If you ask how much it costs ....

Doing the math based on the cost of the other units, that means the penthouse would go for somewhere near $7 million. It's not among the properties listed for sale, though, and those involved in the project are tight-lipped.

Neal said four of the seven residences are already sold.

"It's obviously a very special piece of property, maybe one of the premier pieces of property in Fargo given the views. We just don't have a lot of residential views from tall buildings here and that's what makes this so special," he said. "I see these as places where people will live for a period of time, keep them for a long time and maybe even hand them down."

Block 9 bathroom overlook.jpg
Artist's rendering of a condominium bathroom in the top floors of the Block 9 building in downtown Fargo, which is currently under construction.

Given the price and the limited number of units, the market for the Block 9 condos is extremely small. That doesn't mean interest isn't high. Dave Noah of RE/MAX Legacy Realty is the agent handling the 15th- and 16th-floor condos. He said he's been "pleasantly surprised" by the interest.


"I've had lots of inquiries. Some are very sophisticated, some less so, but I'm amazed at the number of calls I've gotten," Noah said. "There's really an upbeat feeling from the response I'm getting."

What would $7 million buy? A brochure for Block 9 says the penthouse will be 5,500-square feet of interior space with three bedrooms, three full bathrooms and a powder room. Outside will be two porches, one facing north and the other east. There'll also be a 1,795-square-foot terrace and 515 square feet of covered exterior space.

The 15th-floor condos will be about 1,800 square feet with three bedrooms, three baths and about 230 square feet of covered exterior space. The larger of the two 16th-floor units will be 3,400 square feet with three bedrooms, three baths, two sky porches, 515 square feet of covered exterior space and a 525-square-foot terrace.

Each residence will get two underground heated parking spaces with a private entrance. They'll share a private elevator and an interior dog run.

"The amenities package is broad and that's one reason for the cost," Neal said. "I'd also say that it's an expensive structure. For example, in addition to the elevator residents will use, we had to put in a second elevator to meet code. That's two elevators to serve seven units and they cost a million dollars apiece."

Block 9 top floors night.jpg
Rendering of Block 9's top floors at night. Each residence on the 15th and 16th floors will get two underground heated parking spaces with a private entrance. They'll also share a private elevator and an indoor dog run.

Noah said the Block 9 project raises the bar on condominium properties in Fargo, but he's seen the value of downtown residences trending upward for years.

"Downtown Fargo used to be $400,000-$600,000 condos and people thought that was crazy. Then the market got accustomed to it," Noah said. "Now you can sell $400,000-$600,000 condos pretty easily. Downtown Fargo is kind of cool. People want to be there. Activity breeds activity and we're seeing that.


"Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo is not a small little community anymore. It's fairly sophisticated with people from big companies and the health-care industry moving in and out. It's not the small town a lot of us grew up in. And I think that's good for the community."

Related Topics: REAL ESTATE
Mike McFeely is a columnist for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began working for The Forum in the 1980s while he was a student studying journalism at Minnesota State University Moorhead. He's been with The Forum full time since 1990, minus a six-year hiatus when he hosted a local radio talk-show.
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