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Groundbreaking party for Block 9 tower set for next week

An architect's sketch of the Block 9 tower that's planned for the corner of Broadway and Third Avenue North in downtown Fargo. Rendering by Skidmore, Owens and Merrill.1 / 2
Areas of the US Bank Plaza are taped off as the Block 9 Plaza work in downtown Fargo will begin soon. David Samson / Forum News Service2 / 2

FARGO — Groundbreaking for Fargo's Block 9 highrise has been scheduled for 4 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 12, according to developers.

The ceremony will be a public event with a family-friendly party and speakers, including Mayor Tim Mahoney, according to Mark Dickerson, a spokesman for the R.D. Offutt Co.

The Kilbourne Group and RDO are partners in the project, which includes a 235-foot tower — the city's tallest building — a parking ramp and a park at the plaza. The estimated price tag is $117 million.

The first sign that construction will start soon happened earlier this week when workers took down a billboard at the future construction site, according to Keith Leier, the project manager from Kilbourne.

Excavation is scheduled to start during the week of Sept. 24, and the ramp is expected to be done first in June 2019. The tower would be substantially complete by fall 2020, which is also when the plaza is to reopen to the public.

The tower will include seven condo units at the top, followed by a 125-room hotel, office space, meeting and event space, RDO's office space, and, on the ground floor, retail space and a restaurant. It will be linked via skyway to a 379-stall garage, which itself will be linked to downtown Fargo's modest skyway network.

Both the garage and plaza will be open to the public.

For the Block 9 partners, getting to groundbreaking has been a long, convoluted road with many delays. At one point, they'd thought they would break ground in fall 2016, but missed that and several other self-imposed deadlines, in part, because of the time it took to get financing for the ambitious project.

Besides Kilbourne and RDO, the city of Fargo is also involved, providing land and tax incentives. The Kilbourne Group is owned by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, but he doesn't control day-to-day operations, his administration has said.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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