Press Releases

SOM-Designed Block 9 Breaks Ground in Downtown Fargo

On September 12, 2018, Mayor Tim Mahoney of Fargo, North Dakota, joined local civic and business leaders to break ground on Block 9, an 18-story mixed-use tower in the heart of downtown Fargo. Designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) and developed by Block 9 Partners, a partnership of Kilbourne Group and R.D. Offutt Company, the building will feature office, hotel, residential, and retail spaces. The project will activate the city’s downtown while creating strong commercial and civic connections.

“Our team started dreaming about the possibilities for this site nearly 10 years ago,” said Mike Allmendinger, President of Kilbourne Group. “An incredible project team has developed, with each partner making the project better every single day with new ideas and passion for downtown Fargo. We are thrilled that the time has come to build, and excited for what Block 9 means for the future of Fargo.”

Located on the site of a former parking lot at the intersection of Broadway, 2nd, and 3rd Avenues, Block 9 is poised to serve as a destination for business, culture, and community events for Fargo’s residents and visitors. Block 9 includes a five-story podium with new retail and dining spaces along Broadway, and a public parking garage at 3rd Avenue.

The commercial floors of the podium and tower will house the new corporate headquarters for R.D. Offutt Company, bringing hundreds of jobs to downtown Fargo. A boutique hotel developed by Aparium Hotel Group will occupy several floors, with the highest floors dedicated to residences and condominiums featuring private balconies, floor-to-ceiling windows, and expansive views of the city. Together, the mixed programming at Block 9 provides new opportunities to live and work downtown, bolstering the revitalization of downtown Fargo.

“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,” said SOM Design Partner Brian Lee. “With sensitivity to the history, scale, and rhythm of the city, Block 9 supports a vibrant, mixed-used program to strengthen the urban fabric and activate Fargo’s downtown area. The public plaza will serve as the city’s town square and great room, while new hospitality, retail, and restaurant spaces will support the local street culture, elevating Broadway and 2nd Avenue as a premier address for business, arts, culture, and community.”

Inspired by the agriculture and architectural vernacular of the Great Plains, the architecture of Block 9 respects Fargo’s urban heritage and scale while introducing contemporary elements and new community spaces to the city’s historic streetscape. Appropriate to its prominent location in the city, the project includes a new all-season public plaza for gatherings and events. The tower is set back from Broadway to preserve the rhythm and character of the streetscape. Its design references the architecture and materiality of neighboring buildings, while creating a slender profile on the skyline.

The podium of Block 9 embraces the street and adjacent public plaza with a pedestrian-friendly design that respects the scale of surrounding buildings. A public arcade, framed with wood to add texture and warmth, opens out to Broadway and functions as the building's main entrance. A multistory atrium punctuates the interior of the office floors, with an open staircase connecting workplace levels. On the fifth floor of the tower, a wide outdoor terrace and glass-enclosed, multifunction ballroom and conference space overlooks the public plaza.

As architect for Block 9, SOM is providing a full-service suite of design services, including architecture, structural engineering, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) engineering. When completed in 2020, Block 9 will be one of the tallest buildings in Fargo.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world. Since its founding more than 80 years ago, SOM has earned a reputation for design excellence with a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries, and has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with nearly 2,000 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award—in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Dubai, and Mumbai.

About R.D. Offutt Company

R.D. Offutt Company is a family-owned and operated business, parent company of RDO Equipment Co., R.D. Offutt Farms, Threemile Canyon Farms, PROffutt LimitedPartnership, and other companies in the farming and food industries. The Fargo, ND-based company was formed in 1964, has annual revenues of $2.6 billion, and employs more than 4,400 people.

R.D. Offutt Company believes long-term success is built on shared values and remains focused on measuring that success by serving its key stakeholders – customers, communities, manufacturing partners, owners, and team members.

About Kilbourne Group

Kilbourne Group is an experienced real estate developer providing services including property management, construction management, design, and brokerage services. Founded in 2006 by Doug Burgum, Kilbourne Group has focused on the revitalization of downtown Fargo through the restoration of historic buildings and new construction infill projects. Guided by the knowledge that vibrant downtowns create smart, healthy cities, Kilbourne Group has a deep passion for urban spaces and experienced understanding of what design and amenities are needed to respond to today’s demand for walkable, mixed-use, urban cores in communities.