Photos courtesy of Dan Francis and Kilbourne Group
Feature photo: Fargo citizens gather downtown to celebrate the breaking ground of Block 9 on September 12th.
In November 1930, in the midst of an economic depression, George M. Black was so confident in the future of Fargo, North Dakota, that he planned, financed, and built the tallest building in the state at the time. As The Forum reported then, hundreds of community members gathered to watch the cornerstone be laid at 118 Broadway, for the eight-story tower of commerce. For decades, retailers and office dwellers thrived in the building, which was referred to as a masterpiece of modern architecture.
On September 12, 2018, construction kicked-off on the 18-story mixed-use Block 9 tower at the corner of Second Avenue North and Broadway in downtown Fargo. The project comes with a central community plaza; a place where all are invited to spend time, relax, and enjoy the city.
Now, 88 years after the construction of the Black Building, hundreds of people again gathered at the Block 9 site to celebrate a building milestone in vibrant downtown Fargo. A party was held in the plaza, with the goal of giving people the experience of what the plaza will hold when it’s fully open for public use in the fall of 2020: neighbors enjoying live music, food, drink, and games in the heart of their city. We were thrilled to have so many join us, and motivated by how long they lingered.
It’s taken 10 years of planning and hard work on behalf of so many partners to get here. But the real foundation making this project possible is you, Fargo.
Just as the Sears Roebuck store made the Black Building possible in 1930, R.D. Offutt Company is the cornerstone of Block 9. Scott Neal, President of R.D. Offutt’s real estate division, told the crowd at the groundbreaking that his company had several options to consider with its growth plan.
“Moving to a hub city makes good business sense,” Neal said. “We wanted to keep our roots here in North Dakota; specifically, in Fargo. R.D. Offutt Company will continue to invest and hire and grow in this area.”
Design Partner Brian Lee of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) said, “Fargo is the future of great American mid-sized cities, representing a rich heritage and quality of life while fostering the opportunity to create a new urban story.”
We couldn’t agree more.
Aparium Hotel Group doesn’t create hotels in cities they don’t fall in love with. After exploring local flavor through places like Wild Terra Cidery, Prairie Roots Food Cooperative and Young Blood Coffee Co., the Aparium team fell for Fargo. They discovered talented, hard-working people who care about their community and are making an impact.
We can’t wait to add Aparium’s hospitality experience to downtown Fargo.
Financing institutions support this project because they see the momentum building in downtown Fargo. They see entrepreneurs taking risks to turn their dreams into community treasures, new jobs and unique experiences.
We are deeply appreciative of our neighbors, residents and businesses, that believe in, and invest in, downtown Fargo.
Those of us who’ve spent our lives here know Fargo is special. First-time visitors feel it too. Just in the last few weeks…
“Adventurers willing to explore the largest city in North Dakota will find an underappreciated art scene, incredible craft beer and cider and friendly locals in this off-the-beaten-path destination.”
“Locals are quick to credit their forebears — the Scandinavian settlers who depended on each other to raise barns, harvest crops and recover from floods. That same work ethic, dynamism and community support help a new generation of makers, entrepreneurs and artists who dream big and often succeed.”
“This Midwestern city is packed with amazing food, art, culture and fun things to do. It’s no coincidence that huge numbers of young people are moving to Fargo, eager to take advantage of the small-but-growing city’s energy — and affordability.”
The Block 9 Partners are full of gratitude to the Fargo community for the opportunity to build a new piece of the downtown skyline.
We invite you to follow the progress and stay in touch at Block9Fargo.com.
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