Wonderful Downtown Project, Roberts Mixed Use Ramp Breaks Ground

Thanks to an incredible amount of good work by many building on years of solid planning, a long needed project is coming to fruition.
Here’s a current picture of this two acre site. Now a low value surface parking lot where vibrant buildings used to be. With the new mixed use projects, over 180 people will live there, 9,500 sqf of sidewalk and alley retail, bike parking, 450 publicly owned and operated stalls wrapped by private housing and retail developed by the excellent team at Kilbourne Group.

 
Our record setting Great Rides Bikeshare has stations to the east and the west, our new fast, fun, and free Link FM goes right by with it’s 15 min route connecting our downtown with Moorhead Mall, and Matbus that has tripled ridership to over 2.1 million rides annually has 7 minute routes to campus and 15 min routes to West Acres.

 
I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of wonderful people on this type of mixed use project for over 12 years and we gained traction when I worked with Charley Johnson of Convention and Visitors to arrange a bus trip with fellow commissioners and local architects and businesses. We went two trips, one to Sioux Falls and Lincoln to see how they’ve developed ramps wrapped with residential, office, and active retail on the sidewalks, and another to Winnipeg to see how they’re redeveloping their downtown and riverfront. They shared their successes and mistakes freely. Thanks so much to them!
 
Good stuff on my last days as commissioner after the limit of three terms. It’s a pleasure working with you over the years and more good stuff to come as I’ll still be on the Parking Commission and will be engaged with our City Center Comp plan to continue to implement the Fargo GO 2030 priorities.
 
Let’s keep working to grow well together, and GO FARGO!!

Here’s what an animation of what this will be:

 
Had a blast breaking ground with a big backhoe! I used to run smaller ones 35 years ago when I worked construction.Kickoff-overhead
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Crews break ground on Kilbourne’s “Roberts Garage” in downtown Fargo

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) – One scoop of dirt today started a “parking revolution” in downtown Fargo.
Construction has started on Kilbourne’s “Roberts Garage” project which will bring retail, housing and more parking to downtown.mike digging Roberts

 It was only fitting that Outgoing Fargo City Commissioner Mike Williams, long a champion for downtown, would sit in a backhoe and dig the first scoop of dirt for Kilbourne’s Roberts Garage. What will be a multi-phase build, in lots, north of the downtown post office. Parking, apartments, and retail.
“What the country has learned about mixed use parking structures, it provides a human scale solution, and continues to have very high walkability, and provide parking that’s needed in your downtowns,” said Mike Allmendinger, Kilbourne Group.
Parking lots like this one in Downtown Fargo, don’t bring in much tax revenue to the city of Fargo, adding retail and apartments and a parking lot will change that.
“So from $3,400 to $240,000 and then have residents here. So it triples the parking, adds residential units from studios to lofts, and then start-up retail on the alley,” said Mike Williams, City Commissioner.
What used to be home to works of Shakespeare, Plato and Emerson in the Carnegie Library, will now go from a tar lot, to a new look for downtown. A 450 stall garage, 74 apartments and townhomes, and 9,500 square feet of retail, food and beverage space. Commissioner says there is more of this Public Private partnership to come.
“We’re not even halfway done to reach our potential, connecting to the river front, embracing the river, adding to these flats, 109 acres of flat surfaced parking lots, feature people and accommodate cars, and look for other ways to move around than having to drive everywhere,” said Mike Williams.
This comes after the city traveled to other Midwestern cities the size of Fargo, to see how downtown cores were developed, especially when a Riverfront is involved.
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