Downtown Revitalization: Fargo, North Dakota

June 11, 2014 8 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Metro Jacksonville takes a visit to successfully revitalized downtown that most Jaxsons know very little about: Fargo.

Broadway Streetscape and Multimodal Enhancements

: One major project has been the Broadway Streetscape enhancement, a $10 million facelift of the main commercial and retail corridor of downtown Fargo. Completed in 2004, the project included more pedestrian-friendly street design, decorative pavers in streets and sidewalks, ornate light poles, iron street furniture, bicycle racks, trees, planting beds, and a road diet. Street designs were implemented to slow down traffic and promote walkability. Now Broadway is the official bicycle/pedestrian safety zone. It features a share-path and on-street bike racks and bike lockers. Sidewalks and tree-lined streets welcome pedestrians. Most buildings are low-rise and human in scale, and many feature ground-floor retail with commercial and owner-occupied residential above. The street designs have made it possible for pedestrians, bicycles, transit buses, and motor vehicles to blend well together. Walking has increased due not only to streetscape design that accommodates pedestrians, but also street and sidewalk activities that attract walking visitors. Transit is conveniently available from downtown to other points in the area and increased following transit programs implemented by North Dakota State University (NDSU). A downtown circulator has been proposed in the 2010 budget. Lessons learned from this project are being applied to a one-way conversion project on another city street and a larger State roadway.

The Richardson Romanesque style Great Northern Depot was built in 1906. Today, Amtrak service is provided via the Empire Builder route, which connects Fargo with Chicago, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Portland,  Seattle and Spokane.

505 Broadway is located just north of the Fargo Amtrak Station. This former Ford Assembly Plant was constructed in 1914 and designed by John Graham of Seattle who build similar structures for Ford in other cities, including Minneapolis.

The 400 building contains 41 assisted living units at the intersection of Broadway and 4th Avenue North. The Classical Revival style building was the Powers Hotel when completed in 1914-15.

Completed in 2009, 300 Broadway is located on space once used as a parking lot for the nearby Fargo Theatre. The first floor includes retail space, a two-story atrium and a 78-seat second screen for the Fargo Theatre. Condos are located on the second, third and fourth floors.

The six-block Fargo Skyway provides a convenient pedestrian connection between parking, restaurants, retail stores and entertainment venues in the heart of Downtown Fargo.

Built in 1930, the Black Building is the tallest structure in the Downtown Fargo Historic District. Originally, the basement and first two floors were occupied by Sears. The remaining six floors were leased as office space.

The International Order of Odd Fellows Hall was originally constructed in 1894. The Hotel Donaldson, an artist-inspired boutique hotel now occupies the space.

: The Hotel Donaldson in Fargo’s revitalized downtown offers far more than a place to sleep. Art-filled rooms; beds you’ll linger in; artisan cuisine paired with wine, beer, and spirits; and friendly, experienced staff members create a memorable experience.

After more than 100 years as a fraternal lodge and hotel, the building took on its current life in 2003 after a three-year renovation process. Since then, The Hotel Donaldson has become recognized for its exceptional hospitality and its role as a central location for downtown Fargo’s nightlife, dining, and culture.

Now occupied by Bell State Bank & Trust, this building opened in 1926 as the First National Bank.

The 10-story Bank of the West Tower was completed in 1973.

In 1878, anchored by the Northern Pacific's depot, Main Avenue was known as Front Street and recognized as Fargo's main thoroughfare. The 600 Block of Main Avenue represents Fargo's greatest concentration of Italianate commercial structures.

The first two floors of the DeLendrecie Block date back to 1894. Three additional floors were added in 1904. At the time, it housed deLendrecie's Department Store. In 1972, deLendrecie's relocated to a suburban shopping mall, leading to the structure being converted into an apartment building three years later.

Photographs by Russell Conner. Article by Ennis Davis, AICP. Contact Ennis at

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