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Historic design elements create urban beauty in Fargo

Historic design elements create urban beauty in Fargo

Three cheers for Fargo, topping the Milken Institute‘s list of Best Performing Small Cities for the second year in a row! The rank takes into account job growth, wage and salary growth, and high-tech GDP growth, all very strong indicators of the caliber of Fargo. Another indicator Milken uses to showcase the cities? Beauty.

A picture speaks volumes and Milken chose the image above to show Fargo to the world.


At Kilbourne Group, we believe mixed-use buildings, form-based code and walkable neighborhoods are the elements of differentiation in downtown. When seeking inspiration for the future, we often look to the urban design patterns of the past.

This beautiful view of 300 Broadway is more than meets the eye.
1. It’s infill. No new city infrastructure was required for this project. A parcel that used to have nearly zero taxable value for the City of Fargo will now grow in taxable value for decades. Infill projects help build a positive balance sheet for the city which in turn builds a stronger city. It’s hard to believe this used to be a surface level parking lot.

2. It’s mixed-use. Mixed-use means multiple functions are blended into one building, promoting higher utilization and brings people together. The first floor includes retail space, an amazing two-story atrium and a 78-seat Fargo Theatre second screen. Condos are located on the second, third and fourth floors with a stunning two story residence topping it off. And then there are the rooftop gardens.
3. It’s following a form-based approach. Kilbourne Group takes a deliberate approach to design in order to create an interesting and inviting public realm. One way to do this is to align with the principles of form-based code. Form-based code is a set of design principles that foster a high-quality public realm. It brings buildings closer to front lot lines to frame the street, creates frequent entrances into the building to invite passers-by in, and it is built to last for generations. Many downtowns across the country have adopted form-based codes to guide future development and protect historic design. Form-based code is design for people.

4. It’s walkable. With a 93 walkscore, this address is a walker’s paradise. Walkable neighborhoods are safe, comfortable, and interesting. Great architecture and trees frame the walking paths. Walkability also has the essential element of being useful, meaning there has to be something to walk to. A high walkscore means most everything you need is within walking distance.

Kilbourne Group recognizes that buildings and development not only impact those who inhabit them. The workforce, health, and economics of a community are all supported and increased by smart design. Each project we complete, every new business that opens downtown, and the support our community provides keeps us invigorated, grateful, and excited about the future of the Fargo metro area.

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