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Kilbourne Group proposes $14 million project west of downtown Fargo

Kilbourne Group proposes $14 million project west of downtown Fargo

The following article by  appeared on July 6, 2015 in The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead

FARGO- The Kilbourne Group is proposing a $14 million residential and commercial project at the former Woodrow Wilson High School just west of downtown.

General Manager Mike Allmendinger told the City Commission on Monday that the group envisions 100 apartment units and 9,000 square feet of commercial space. That would require an addition to the school’s south end and a new building to the east in what’s now a parking lot, he said.

At his request, commissioners voted unanimously to begin negotiations on what kinds of incentives the city would be able to provide Kilbourne Group to make the project work.

Allmendinger told The Forum construction could start as early as late summer.

city map showing Woodrow Wilson

Commissioners seemed giddy at the prospect of having a developer for the property at 315 N. University Drive, which has been vacant since the school district sold it in 2012.

“This is a great thing to stretch downtown all the way out to University, which is fantastic,” said Commissioner Melissa Sobolik.

City planners consider University Drive the western boundary for the downtown neighborhood.

architect's drawing

An architect’s drawing shows the Kilbourne Group’s plans

Near campus

Kilbourne Group, led by Doug Burgum, the founder of what’s now Microsoft’s Fargo branch, is known for making investments throughout downtown. Past projects include several buildings on Broadway and the purchase of the old St. Mark’s Lutheran Church.

According to Allmendinger, the Woodrow Wilson school, built in 1917 in the Collegiate Gothic style, is on the National Register of Historic Places. In recent decades, the school district used it as an alternative high school before selling it to Aldevron, a biotech firm. Aldevron sold it to Kilbourne Group in January.

Allmendinger said the location is ideal because it’s a 14-minute walk to North Dakota State University’s main campus, a 10-minute walk to Broadway and a six-minute walk to NDSU’s downtown buildings. There are also existing bike lanes and bus routes, he said.

Rent for the apartments, which will range from efficiencies to three-bedroom units, will be $675 to $1,500 a month, he said.

As part of the project, Kilbourne Group will convert a property to the north into a parking lot, he said, but as fewer people use cars in the future, the group will also consider constructing another building on the lot.

City Planner Jim Gilmour said Kilbourne Group wants more tax incentives than offered for most projects, but it’s also bigger than most projects. He said the city’s finance advisers will work with the group to put together a proposal for the commission.

To read the article on The Forum’s website, click here.

Photo by Dave Olson/The Fourm.

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