Activating an urban space in Downtown Fargo

Written by: Mike Allmendinger

Each historic renovation and infill project Kilbourne Group is fortunate to be part of in Downtown Fargo is unique. Many structures built at the turn of the century have good bones and adaptable attitudes. Taken care of, the buildings can be molded to match modern needs while retaining the historic value that gives Downtown Fargo its unique personality. Many majestic buildings were lost to urban renewal and left behind surface parking lots scattered throughout the urban neighborhood, leaving missing teeth in the streetscape.

The corner of Fourth Avenue North and Broadway in Downtown Fargo was once home to the Fargo Mercantile Company, a wholesale grocer that constructed a four-story brick building in 1909. As area columnist Andrea Halgrimson wrote in the July 28, 2013, issue of The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead:

“The Renaissance-style structure was designed by Hancock Bros., a Fargo architectural firm. The local contractor was J.H. Bowers.

Except in the basement, which was used for storage, hard maple flooring was installed throughout. Company offices were fitted with quarter-sawed oak and steel ceilings. I give these details to emphasize the tragedy of razing such a building.

I remember the building looking like a fortress on the corner, seeming like something that would last forever. It was razed in 1966.”

Today, the corner is recognizable to many as the former Schumacher Goodyear store, which was built in 1967 and still stands with its trademark blue walls. Schumacher vacated the space in January 2016. Without immediate redevelopment plans for the site, Kilbourne Group recognizes that a vacant building can degrade walkability and create unsafe space in an otherwise active neighborhood.

So this summer, Kilbourne is celebrating the space before returning it to its historic roots as a walkable, mixed-use building at one of Downtown Fargo’s most active intersections.

Kilbourne Group updates Downtown Fargo with Fargo Brewing Company

Due to the hard work of a number of local organizations, the 409 Broadway corner has come alive with craft beer, a food truck, a farmer’s market, local theater groups and live music. The collaboration, energy, and passion these groups have brought to the space have created brand new, unique experiences in Downtown Fargo:

  • Fargo Brewing Company created the Brews on Broadway pop-up patio for serving up their local brews on Saturdays this summer with live music and patio games. The space is available for your event, too. Also, a big thank you to Barbacoa for their involvement.
  • Experience Blur performed their summer show “The Great American Trailer Park Musical” in last month.
  • Theatre B will begin its 2016-17 Season at 409 Broadway in September:
    • How the World Began by Catherine Trieschmann. Performances in September and October 2016
    • Inspecting Carol by Daniel Sullivan. Performances in November and December 2016
    • Hand to God by Robert Askins. Performances in March and April 2017.

Kilbourne Group updates Downtown Fargo with Fargo Brewing Company Kegs on Display

Punchgut had a one-night art exhibit in late May, with plans to appear again this summer. Many other artists are also considering pop-up shows in the space.

Potential abounds for this strong corner on Broadway in Downtown Fargo. The site was identified by City of Fargo parking consultants as a prime strategic location for the development of a mixed-use parking garage. It is surrounded by vibrant retail and restaurants and established residential spaces. Kilbourne Group is excited to embark on the journey of gathering ideas for this corner from the community, exploring design concepts, and creating an infill development that meets the goals of the GO2030 Fargo Comprehensive Plan and that future generations can be proud of.

If you are interested in using the pop-up space this summer, go to and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.

Share This Article
Mike Allmendinger is the General Manager of the Kilbourne Group.