624 2nd Ave N, Fargo, ND
The Kesler project broke ground in October 2020.
The project is named after the original Kesler block, which is listed in city directories as a mixed-use block of apartments over ground floor retail existing until 1976. In 1977, it was listed as a parking lot.
Kesler includes 69 parking stalls, almost 9,000 square feet of ground-floor retail for five new businesses, and 109 apartments. Early construction activity includes installation of an earth retention system, followed by excavation and concrete work. The Kesler project is scheduled to be complete in the summer of 2022.
The Kesler project represents the final phase of a public-private partnership designed to transform three surface parking lots in downtown Fargo into a 455-stall publicly-owned parking garage, and three privately owned mixed-use buildings: Roberts Commons, Dillard, and Kesler.
Kesler is the fourth phase of a public-private partnership with the City of Fargo which began in early 2016. The previous phases included the seven-level Roberts Garage public parking, the mixed-use Roberts Commons building wrapping around the garage, and the mixed-use Dillard project to the north. Construction of these projects created a west border of buildings along Roberts Alley, which has become a favorite stop on strolls through downtown Fargo, filled with retail, restaurants, and outdoor patio spaces.
By the numbers, this public-private partnership transformed 195 surface lot parking stalls in the heart of downtown Fargo into 524 parking stalls, 265 new apartments, and 35,500 square feet of commercial space with 11 new businesses so far!
As the Roberts Commons and Dillard infill projects activated Roberts Alley north of 2nd Avenue North, the Kesler development will extend the activation of the alley south to 1st Avenue North. This urban alley will feature storefronts across from the historic Black Building. The west alley along the Graver building will provide a shaded walkway (still open to vehicles) with the installations of street trees and green walls. Kesler will be complimented by the Stone building along Roberts Alley and 1st Avenue North.
For 45 years, this site lacked activity with people. The team members of Kilbourne Group are grateful for the opportunity to work with the City of Fargo to invest in bringing new living and working experiences into this growing neighborhood. We know that urban infill is a key component to maintaining walkability and to the city’s revitalization journey. As a real estate redevelopment firm focused on historic renovation and mixed-use urban infill projects in downtown Fargo, Kilbourne Group aims to breathe new energy into downtown residential, commercial, and retail spaces, and the spaces in between.
The building at 614-624 2nd Avenue N. was built after the Fargo Fire of 1893. The upper floor was used as the Masonic Temple until about 1899. After that the upper levels were known as the Kesler Apartments, and the lower level used a retail. The building was torn down in 1976. It has been a surface parking lot in the heart of downtown Fargo for nearly 45 years.
View looking west on 2nd Avenue N. showing buildings on the south side of the street. The Kesler Block was a three story brick building with Classical Revival elements. Businesses visible are Fargo Linoleum Co., North Dakota Paint, The Keg liquor store, and Catherine’s Gifts . The five story brick building in the distance is the Graver Inn. Several automobiles and pedestrians are visible in the scene.
Images courtesy of NDSU Archives