Emerging Prairie, a non-profit focusing on connecting and celebrating the entrepreneurial ecosystem, is growing its roots a little deeper in the tech-hub of downtown Fargo. It is the most recent addition to the new lineup of businesses making their home in the Black Building on Broadway.
“The list of those who have arranged for office space in The Black Building reads like a roster of Fargo’s Business and Professional “400.” These are the firms who can’t be kept down, nor believe in hiding their light under a bushel. To them, The Black Building means more than an office in the northwest’s dominant structure. It means the looked-for opportunity for ‘centralizing’ with other firms of high standing for increased profit and prestige.”
This November 1930 advertisement in The Forum captured the excitement of a growing central business district in downtown Fargo and high hopes for the future. The Black Building has served as a tower of commerce in Fargo for 90 years, and is today being overhauled for the next phase of downtown’s growth.
After many businesses relocated to allow for renovation, the Black Building is beginning to fill again. Bobcat is settled into The Studio, their new digital innovation center which occupies a floor and a half, and the flexible office suites on the fifth floor are filling in.
This summer, the Black Building will become the new home of Emerging Prairie’s growing headquarters, along with its new Emerging Digital Academy and Fargo’s only coworking space, the Prairie Den.
“We’re excited because this move is only necessary due to the success of our events, the growth of new projects like Grand Farm and Emerging Digital Academy, and because Prairie Den is more popular than ever,” said Brian Carroll, Director of Operations for Emerging Prairie. “This move is an indicator that entrepreneurs, startups and downtown Fargo are all flourishing.”
In 2015, Emerging Prairie was featured in a Fortune article titled Inside Fargo, America’s Most Undervalued Tech-Hub, which declared, “In economic terms, what’s happening in Fargo is that a magnetic downtown is attracting and retaining talent.” Emerging Prairie has been a significant draw for that talent, through entrepreneur-focused programming like 1 Million Cups on Wednesday mornings, TEDxFargo, and many other events.
Emerging Prairie’s thought leadership and entrepreneurial spirit will be right at home at the Black Building, which is at the center of this regional technology hub. Built in 1930, the Black Building is an eight-story art deco structure born of the merchant George M. Black’s belief in the future of Fargo. T.F. Powers & Co., the construction company, called the Black Building its masterpiece. Over the years, it’s been described as a center of activity flooded with merchandise, the pride of Fargoans, and a veritable cathedral of business activity.
Emerging Prairie’s desire to be based out of the Black Building is a logical step in its reincarnation as a significant landmark in the heart of Fargo’s central business district. The Black Building is the perfect spot for design and technology companies.
The work of Emerging Prairie is helping Fargo continue to compete at a global level. At just over 8,000 square feet, its new home in the Black Building will showcase the thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem of our region.
“Fargo is a community filled with incredible folks, and the world is watching,” said Greg Tehven, Executive Director of Emerging Prairie. “Downtown is a competitive advantage for companies that want their teammates to love where they work. There’s an energy. There’s a vibe. There’s an edge. Being in downtown provides an opportunity for people to build relationships and friendships and to have the spirit of possibility.”