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In honor of Earth Day – The Ultimate Recycle

In honor of Earth Day – The Ultimate Recycle

All recycling makes a difference. Every plastic bottle, each paper towel not used.

Have we considered the environmental damage caused by allowing buildings to deteriorate until it’s time to haul them to a landfill?

When Doug Burgum purchased the Loretta building at 210 Broadway in downtown Fargo in August of 2010, he found a building that had weathered decades of neglect. Only about 9,000 square feet of the sprawling structure was used; the other 75 percent of the building was vacant. Roof leaks had caused layers of rot throughout the upper portions of the building. A basement apartment looked like it had been hastily vacated and still contained numerous items from the previous tenant.


In 2010, Kilbourne Group undertook the two-year, $6 million renovation of Loretta, resulting in an increase from about 9,000 square feet of usable space to 48,000 square feet of prime retail, commercial and office space. It has been expanded with a new fourth floor of office and commercial space, highlighted by a state-of-the-art conference room and a walk-out patio that offers one of the best views of Broadway in downtown Fargo. Interior spaces are filled with natural light on every level, even including the basement through glass blocks inset on the sidewalk.


As noted by renovation partner JLG Architects, While the most sustainable method of architecture is adaptive reuse, the LEED checklist was followed in every aspect of this project, leading to more efficient systems and low maintenance costs. Some materials from the original building are reintroduced in new ways such as newel posts from the remnants of an original oak stair, the reuse of salvaged Douglas Fir floor joists and ceiling boards as a beautiful interior wood finish, and the use of bead board wall panels below a new skylight that replicate an original.

Marvin windows recreated the original character with a more efficient design that improved air filtration, reduced heat loss, and increased energy savings. The Loretta was honored with the Best Commercial Award in the 2015 Architects Challenge by Marvin Windows and Doors.


Reclaimed wood and natural light are a great start. Now consider that demolishing the Loretta would have created more than 3,000 tons of construction waste, roughly 322 dump trucks FULL. And think of the new public infrastructure and building materials saved because each of the 20 businesses within her walls didn’t construct a single-use building on the undeveloped edge of town.


Saving historic buildings is the ultimate recycle. May the Lovely Loretta stand proud through her next 100 years.

Kilbourne Group’s vision of taking risk and vigorously pursuing high-quality, mixed-use infill and historic renovation projects has its roots firmly planted in the common good. Our infill approach utilizes the least amount of city infrastructure, does not require the city to take on balance sheet risk, and it raises and concentrates the tax base in a smaller geographic area on a way that creates a long term profit center in terms of taxes. Learn more about our approach.

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