Revitalizing, Activating, and Partnering for a Greater Downtown Fargo

For over 15 years, the Kilbourne Group has been a huge proponent of the revitalization of downtown Fargo, North Dakota. Whether Kilbourne revitalizes existing buildings, activates unused spaces, or partners with businesses and non-profits, downtown Fargo is becoming a vibrant city center. “Ultimately, the story of downtown Fargo is the story of family businesses, entrepreneurs, and neighbors that bring life into the buildings and spaces they use…and Kilbourne is excited to be a part of that story,” explains Adrienne Olson, Kilbourne’s Communication Manager.

Revitalization

The history of the Kilbourne Group began in 2000 when Doug Burgum acquired, renovated, and redeveloped the Northern School Supply building, which is now known as Renaissance Hall of North Dakota State University. The Loretta building on Broadway is another interesting renovation that took place in 2010. The Loretta renovation created over 48,000 square feet mixed use space. Today, the Loretta building hosts several businesses including Stumbeanos, The Boiler Room, Pinch and Pour, Rosey’s, the Kilbourne Group, and other tenants as well as a rentable event space.

“Without people, we are nothing,” is the phrase Tim Rosendahl remembers from his old boss, Walt Disney. In 2017, Rosendahl opened Rosey’s in the Loretta building after a career that included experience as the executive chef at Walt Disney World and Red Lobster. Throughout Rosey’s, there are glimpses of Rosendahl’s past that come to life from the décor to the interactions of the wait staff. “The Loretta building is an amazing location for Rosey’s… there are 455 parking spots at the new Roberts Garage at our back door with more on the way when Block 9 is built across the street,” explained Rosendahl. Along with Rosendahl, the downtown corridor is full of buildings that house story after story of entrepreneurs, small businesses, and neighbors that make downtown Fargo a unique destination.

Activation

The Kilbourne Group properties are activated each day in creative ways. “Our goal is to keep the buildings alive and strong… but it is the people of Fargo that activate the spaces for memorable moments,” shared Adrienne Olson. Throughout downtown, there are stories of spaces being activated by businesses and non-profits including Mark Weiler, Folkways, and Emerging Prairie.

Mark Weiler, founder of Ecce Gallery in downtown, considers himself a facilitator of world-class experiences from art displays, musical performers, and entertainers. “Recently, we chose to utilize and activate the Stone building for a concert because of its central location to downtown. It allows us to connect younger crowds with historical buildings and parts of downtown they would not otherwise visit,” explained Mark. The Stone building is located on 1st Avenue in downtown and its history includes Stone’s Piano Company and the Fargo College Conservatory of Music.

Like Mark, Folkways, a Fargo non-profit, has utilized downtown spaces in unique ways including an outdoor farmers market, an alley fair, pop up waffle restaurant, and much more. The Red River Farmers Market currently operates from July to October at 409 Broadway in Fargo. “We were inspired by some of the best urban farmers’ markets across the country and wanted our visitors to be able to make a full day of their market experience downtown,” shared Simone Wai of Folkways.

The Drone Focus conference hosted by Emerging Prairie is another example of innovating and activating downtown spaces in Fargo. “The Loudon and Stone buildings provided us with unique access to the downtown core and resources by activating them for our breakout sessions and workshops… we enjoy highlighting the history of these revitalized buildings,” explained Lindsay Breuler of Emerging Prairie. Along with the Drone Focus conference, TEDxFargo offers attendees several downtown experiences during the daylong conference hosted at the Fargo Civic Center with morning activities throughout downtown.

Partnership

Kilbourne Group is a supporting partner of Emerging Prairie, which seeks to highlight the entrepreneurs, artists, and creators of Fargo. “We are grateful for all the ways Emerging Prairie activates downtown Fargo. Partnering with groups like Emerging Prairie, Fargo Housing Authority, Folkways, Plains Art Museum, The Arts Partnership, and so many more, creates an ecosystem of support and strength,” explained Mike Allmendinger, General Manager of the Kilbourne Group. The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Fargo is thriving thanks to the teamwork of local businesses, risk takers, and the Fargo community buy-in. “Our mission is to be a catalyst of inspiration and action for vibrant downtown communities where we design and create wonderful spaces for experiences to happen that you can’t have anywhere else in the world,” shared Allmendinger.

Brent McNeal