2+1 Configuration…It’s Working!

by Mike Hahn, President/CEO
Downtown Community Partnership

It’s fun to go back and review past plans and their projections to see how things are turning out.  One of those plans is the NP and 1st Avenue North Corridor Development Plan completed by the Alfred Benesch and Company in 2010.  The plan states, “Two way traffic will provide a significant, positive economic impact for the Downtown Fargo area that will provide for more opportunities for development compared to the existing configuration.”  This plan provided an economic projection comparing two way streets to one-way streets.  The plan stated that if these streets remained one-ways, this corridor would see an increase in development estimated at $5.7 million over 10 years and $33.5 million over 25 years.  This is in comparison to reconfiguring to two-ways at $15.7 million over 10 years and $92.9 million over 25 years.

NP and 1st Avenue North were converted to a two way (2+1) configuration this past September (2013).  In monitoring economic impact in this corridor over the past six months, there has been a total of five new business starts and expansions.  This includes Bun Appetit (bakery), Vinyl Taco (restaurant/pub), Wurst Bier Hall (restaurant/pub), Your Day by Nicole (bridal store) and The Uptown Gallery (fine art gallery featuring local artists).  Craig Properties are currently building the Alexandra Marie Apartments at the corner of NP and 8th Street North, a $3 million investment.  In addition, there are plans to rehabilitate the former Union Storage & Transfer Company Building at 1026 NP by NP Avenue, LLC into a mix use development to include office, retail and apartment uses.  An estimated $9 million to $12 million project.

Some would argue it’s too early to contribute these developments to the two way streets, but ask any smart business owner and they will tell you they rather be on a two-way than a one way street where people are looking at their storefront through their rear view mirrors. It appears the reconfiguration of these streets are providing a positive impact.

They say pictures are worth a thousand words and in presentations, I use the following two photographs as examples of what the community hopes to accomplish in re-configuring this corridor from one ways to two ways:

NP Avenue & 5th Street

NP Avenue and 5th Street | August 2012


The corner of NP and 5th Street around 1:00 PM in August of 2012. Note lack of vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Also, spaces where buildings once stood are now parking lots.



NP Past

NP Avenue and 5th Street circa 1929


*The same corner as viewed in 1929.  This is the type of development the community hopes to accomplish incrementally as the two way street pattern is restored along this corridor.



*photo courtesy of NDSU Institute for Regional Studies Collections

Check out www.downtownfargo.com for updates, events and information on Downtown Fargo.

DowntownFargo.com Reaches Milestone

by Jed Pahan, Vice President and Matt Hansen, Project Coordinator
Downtown Community Partnership

The Downtown Community Partnership is excited to announce it has reached a milestone with the website www.downtownfargo.com! As of Friday, September 20, 2013, there were over 100,000 visits in 2013 and over a quarter million page views.


DowntownFargo.com is an incredible promotional tool for the community and its historic city center. We are very proud to have such an amazing website that highlights our Downtown District, the heart of our community. Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Omaha, Chicago and New York are in the top 15 cities that use the website. I’m confident enough to say it’s one of the best Downtown websites in the nation!” said Jed Pahan, Vice President of the Downtown Community Partnership.

“This milestone quantifiably shows increased interest in our community, not just from people in the immediate region, but from all over the Midwest,” said Matt Hansen, Downtown Community Partnership Project Coordinator, the person tasked with managing online content for Downtown Fargo.  “We believe in our retailers and business owners and are sharing their success with our online audience,” Hansen said.

DowntownFargo.com features an events calendar and business listings for participating businesses.  There are approximately 400 business listings featured on the site.

The Downtown Community Partnership’s mission is to be promoters, advocates, educators, and visionaries of our historic Downtown by connecting and partnering inside our community and beyond.

Everything you need to know for the 2013 Downtown Fargo Street Fair

The 38th Annual Downtown Fargo Street Fair kicks off tomorrow morning.  Vendors from all across the country have travelled to Fargo and set up shop for this favorite summer event.  This year’s fair features hundreds of retailers, some top notch food — from the fine street eats of Mezzaluna to the classic funnel cakes.

Winning Art

If you’ve seen the official event posters and maps, you likely have noticed the Xcel Energy Artist Propectus Competition winner Madelyn Netz’s wonderful artwork.

“All of the submissions were phenomenal! It was very difficult for the jurors to decide with so much inspirational talent in this community” said Mike Hahn, President/CEO of the Downtown Community Partnership. Mark Nisbet, North Dakota Principal Manager of Xcel Energy, stated, “We were very excited with the quality of the artwork. It was evident the students put A LOT of work into their submissions. We’re pleased to have so many local students involved in the excitement of Downtown and the Annual Downtown Fargo Street Fair.”

Great Food Options

The food court (located at 2nd Avenue North and Broadway) will include crowd favorites that are sought out each year as well as first-year vendors who will add new flavors to the fair. One of, if not the oldest food vendors participating in the Street Fair is Fry Bread Tacos & More. Based locally, owner Mary Kava looks forward to the Downtown Street Fair because of the entertainment and the crowd that shows up rain or shine.

A new vendor looking forward to this same energy is Shannon Malzahn of Lush Lola’s. “We are debuting the Slathered Pig and The Slop Bucket for the very first time ever at any festival. The Slathered Pig is our famous Drunken Pig sandwich topped with our crunchy, tangy homemade coleslaw and Captain Lola’s Rum BBQ sauce. The Slop Bucket is hot french fries topped with Drunken Pig, gravy and mozzarella cheese- our take on the Canadian delicacy poutine” said Shannon Malzahn of Lush Lola’s.

Great Entertainment

There will always be something FUN happening on the Pepsi Stage at 2nd Avenue and Broadway in Fargo during the street fair.

Acts include Gooseberry Park Players to perform excerpts from their production OKLAHOMA! on Thursday, July 18 and Friday, July 19 at noon. FM Kicks Big Band & Jazz Nickel to Perform Thursday, July 18th with Jazz Nickel from 3pm – 3:45pm and FM Kicks Big Band from 4pm – 6pm.

Staying Cool and Healthy

Sanford Women’s is sponsoring the Breastfeeding Station – a convenient and comfortable place for mothers to breastfeed, change their babies, and rehydrate while visiting the Fargo Street Fair. The station is hosted within a private, four-sided tent, and is located right across from Sammy’s Pizza (corner of Broadway & 3rd Ave.). It will be open Thursday, July 18 and Friday, July 19th from 10 a.m.-9 p.m., and Saturday, July 20th from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Also available during the fair is a misting tent provided by Scheels to give kids and adults alike a break from the heat.

Going Green

The 38th Annual Downtown Street Fair is taking steps to increase sustainability and sustainable options in the 2013 event.

A partnership with Minnkota Recycling in Fargo will provide options to attendees to prevent unnecessary waste added to the landfill. Plastic recycling containers will be available in the food court and at the US Bank Plaza area of which will allow people to aid in community recycling efforts at the event.

Another partnership that can reduce emissions and help you to save money is the use of MATBUS for your transportation needs. MATBUS is providing service for a discounted fare of $1 on Thursday, Friday, and also providing a FARE FREE Saturday. Riding MATBUS not only reduces fuel use and emissions but also provides a means to ride in comfort and attend the Street Fair without worrying about finding a parking spot. Six convenient “Park and Ride” lots are located in the community in which you can park your vehicle for free and then hop on the bus. Ride in comfort and air conditioning taking you right to the event. Visit www.MATBUS.com for locations to plan your trip.

We hope to see you there! Check out www.downtownfargo.com for full details!

Removing the walls

by Mike Hahn, President/CEO
Downtown Community Partnership

Recently, the Downtown Community Partnership moved its offices to the second floor of the historic Loretta Building at 210 Broadway, N. The original design of our office included three dedicated spaces internally with walls.  With construction not being completed by move-in, we decided to wait with the walls to maximize the space with the intention of placing them up after all construction was completed.  There was some apprehension among staff in working in an open space.  Will our stuff be secured? What about privacy?  How about confidentiality?

Last Friday, our temporary construction wall was removed allowing us access to the remaining quarter of our office, along with entry to two shared conference rooms.  The open space concept has really helped our staff in bonding as a team.  There is a lot of cross communicating which allows for more idea building improving overall team performance.

DCP Vice President Jed Pahan in front of the longstanding construction wall lined with guest signatures.

Despite the initial hesitance, we are proud of our new office and invite the community to come by and visit. It’s a great example of a historic recycling project undertaking by our partners, the Kilbourne Group with exposed brick walls and wooden floors.  Our address is below.

To learn more about the move in eliminating the walls in the office, here is an interesting read – http://www.desmoinesregister.com/article/20130301/BUSINESS/303010048/Top-Iowa-employers-construct-open-workspaces?Frontpage

The newly opened workspace.

Mike Hahn

Downtown Community Partnership

210 Broadway N Suite 202

Fargo, ND 58102


Downtown and Historic Preservation

by Mike Hahn, President/CEO
Downtown Community Partnership

As many of you know, the Downtown Community Partnership recently moved our offices into the Loretta Building at 210 Broadway, N.

We are proud of our new space because it reflects what we believe in, promoting the use of existing historic resources. The proprietor of our building, the Kilbourne Group, has done an excellent job in re-purposing this structure built from 1909 to 1912. The building is actually named after the daughter of one of Fargo’s early mayors, Peter Elliott.

Since being located on the “50 yard line” of downtown, we already have had hundreds of visitors who appreciate the craftsmanship that are inherent in historic buildings, like exposed brick, original wood floors, tin ceilings, natural lighting, etc.  However, on a few occasions, we have had a person or two commented, “Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to tear this down and build new?”

We challenge those comments with the following, based on data from Donovan D. Rypkema, Main Street Guru and author of the book, “The Economics of Historic Preservation”:

  • Historic preservation is the best form of recycling.  Almost 24% of the USA’s total municipal solid waste is made up of demolished buildings.  The cost to demolish a typical two-story brick mercantile is equal to the entire environmental benefit of recycling 1,344,000 aluminum cans.
  • When it comes to life expectancy, OLD is better than NEW. Materials in new construction are built to last for decades while the craftsmanship in historic buildings are built to last for centuries.
  • Historic preservation creates higher paying jobs. Due to the craftsmanship involved in historic buildings, preservation requires specialized construction with skills that demand higher wages.

Yes, it takes a special developer–some even with deep pockets–to do historic rehabilitation   They must be knowledgeable in financing such projects using specialized incentives like federal tax credits and/or the North Dakota Renaissance Zone.  Also, they must be passionate about a vision that goes beyond the traditional ROI, knowing their investment reestablishes a sense of place.

In downtown Fargo, we are blessed with many of these visionary developers both small and large who are making significant investments back into our city core.

Downtown Mason City, Iowa circa 1980s. Courtesy of the Lee P. Loomis Archives, Mason City Public Library

As I mentioned in an earlier blog, my hometown of Mason City, Iowa lost a good portion of their sense of place.  Mason City, like many cities, tried rejuvenating their downtown through urban renewal by demolishing blocks and blocks of historic buildings. In place of these buildings, they constructed a suburban designed enclosed shopping mall complete with lots and lots of surface parking (of course, where historic buildings once stood).

Frank Lloyd Wright Park Inn Hotel, Mason City, Iowa circa 2010

The provided photo gives a dark contrast on what losing a historic sense of place is all about; this was the downtown I grew up with! Over 25 years later, the mall is struggling.  My hometown is making great strides in downtown revitalization, but it’s not centered on the shopping mall.  Ironically, they are rebuilding their sense of place around historic preservation. Specifically, the last remaining Frank Lloyd Wright designed hotel in the world, the Park Inn.

April is National Foot Health Awareness Month!

by Matt Hansen, Website and Social Media Intern
Downtown Community Partnership

It’s National Foot Health Awareness Month, which means it’s time for new shoes!

Timberland Pro Series shoes, available at White Banner Uniform in Downtown Fargo

To celebrate, I will be walking around Downtown Fargo in new shoes and blogging about my experiences.  The fine folks at White Banner Uniform in Downtown Fargo have graciously provided me with some top-notch Timberland shoes to try out.  Additionally, in the coming week, I will showcase White Banner Uniform, so you can learn how and where to purchase shoes like the ones pictured below right here in the community — supporting local business (and your feet!).

Since my interning duties often have me walking the busy sidewalks of Fargo, and with this inescapable winter weather, having shoes that are not only comfortable but provide the necessary traction are extremely important.  Many people rightly complain about finding shoes that are work-appropriate, yet actually comfortable for long hours standing or walking. The great thing about the Timberland shoes I’m wearing is that they fit the bill: comfortable and classy!

When buying Timberland shoes, there is a really great promotion called the 30-Day Comfort Guarantee   So if you’re not completely satisfied for the first month of wearing Timberland Pro Series Footwear, you can return them with no questions asked.  How many shoes companies do that? Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Make sure to check back soon for an update on the shoes and White Banner Uniform.

To learn more about the pictured shoes, click here.

This Weekend in Downtown Fargo (Apr 20-21)

by Matt Hansen, Website and Social Media Intern
Downtown Community Partnership

Two great shows continue this weekend in Downtown Fargo.  Theatre B’s “God of Carnage” plays tonight (Saturday, April 20) at 7:30 p.m.  Also, at the same time tonight, the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre presents “Gypsy.” The play also runs Sunday.  Click here for ticket information.

Super Happy Funtime Burlesque happens tonight at 9 p.m. in the Legacy Ballroom.  According to their page, the event is “Designed to find your line and cross it, this burlesque show uses a live band and original music to create a full on musical theater experience that is sexy, bawdy, controversial, and all in all jaw-droppingly funny.” Tickets are $10.  Click here for more information.

Art From Earth Above at the Rourke Gallery

And on Sunday, The Rourke Gallery in conjunction with A Woman’s Perspective will host an Exhibition Closing and Earth Day Celebration on Sunday, April 21 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Artists will be available to discuss the techniques used to create their pieces. Earth Day prizes will be on hand.

Have a great weekend . . . downtown, baby!



This Weekend in Downtown Fargo (Apr 11-14)

by Matt Hansen, Website & Social Media Intern
Downtown Community Partnership

This weekend in Downtown Fargo starts early with several must-see events!

THURSDAY (April 11)

The Plains Art Museum hosts this month’s guided tour of the Warhol exhibit today at 5:30 p.m.  Stop by the museum for the approximately 1.5 hour, no-ticket-required tour.  If you haven’t seen the Warhol exhibit, this is a prime way to do so!

“God of Carnage” Opens Thursday at Theatre B

At 7:30 p.m., it’s Opening Night at Theatre B.  “God of Carnage” by Yasmina Reza will run weekends through May 11.  According to Theatre B, “Carnage” is a great, tension-filled story of family:

A playground altercation between eleven-year-old boys brings together two sets of parents for a meeting to resolve the matter.  At first, diplomatic niceties are observed, but as the meeting progresses, and the rum flows, tensions emerge and the gloves come off, leaving the couples with more than just their liberal principles in tatters.

For more info about how to purchase tickets, check out our website by clicking here.

Across the river, from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., it’s College Night at the Rourke — and a night of “frees”!  Free admission to the current exhibits, free pizza, free beer.  If you have your Student ID, and you’re looking for an awesome, culture-filled Thursday night (with free stuff!) then you do not want to miss this.  The Rourke Museum is located at 521 Main Ave. in Moorhead.  For more details: http://downtownfargo.com/events/article/college-night-at-the-rourke

“Gypsy” by the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre Opens This Friday, April 12.

FRIDAY-SUNDAY (April 12-14)

ecce gallery opens its Raytrospective: Celebrating the Art of Timothy Ray from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.  The Fargo Forum’s John Lamb has a fantastic article (click here) covering the exhibit, including an interview with Mark Weiler, director of the gallery.  Ray’s work will run at ecce through May 5.

“Gypsy” by the Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre opens at 7:30 p.m.  Kris Kerzman, of ARTSPulse, has a great article with one of the lead actresses (click here).  For more details and ticket information on this “classical musical,” visit our website: http://downtownfargo.com/events/article/fargo-moorhead-community-theatre-presents-gypsy

As always, check out our website — www.downtownfargo.com/events — for a full listing of events!

Have an excellent weekend …downtown, baby!

This Weekend in Downtown Fargo (Apr 5-7)

by Matt Hansen, Social Media Intern
Downtown Community Partnership

This is the perfect weekend to check out some of Fargo’s best art exhibits before they’re gone!

Now at the Rourke Museum in Moorhead

At the Plains Art Museum, Warhol: Creating Myth and Icon is still happening.  This is a one of a kind exhibition with special curatorial partner Sundog, creating an interactive and memorable experience.  Stop by the Plains sometime and check it out.  While you’re there, Jessica Wachter has a top notch show.  Learn about both by clicking here.

Just a few blocks away, Steve Revland’s live edge furniture is at ecce art gallery.  His pieces reflect the natural beauty of the Earth and are definitely worth checking out.  It’s the last weekend to see Steve’s furniture, so make sure you stop by ecce! Learn more.

Last, but of course not least, across the river at the Rourke Museum, Suzanne Gonsalez-Smith, Assistant Professor of Art and Design at the University of North Dakota, will give a talk at the Rourke Museum on the photography exhibit, Of Memory, Bone & Myth.  Click here for more info.

Coming up next week: College Night at the Rourke and “Gypsy” by the Fargo Moorhead Community Theatre.

Check out all the great Downtown happenings at www.downtownfargo.com!


Live Edge Furniture and a Live Comedian: This Weekend in Downtown Fargo (Mar 22-24)

by Matt Hansen, Social Media Intern
Downtown Community Partnership

Once again, it’s a weekend of two exhibit openings!

The Rourke Museum opens the University of North Dakota’s fourth annual national juried photography exhibition featuring 23 artists at 5:30 p.m. today (March 22).  According to the Rourke, “the theme of memory and myth remains consistent each year.  Memory implies a sense of nostalgia with a dusting of sentimentality viewed through an empathetic lens.”  Learn more on our website.

Steve Revland opens at ecce gallery Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m.

After that opening, at 6 p.m., head over to ecce gallery in Downtown Fargo for live edge furniture artist Steve Revland’s opening reception.  There’s something very special about live edge furniture, and this is an event not to be missed.  Kris Kerzman from ARTSPulse has a great write up on Revland.  Here is a snippet:

“I want there to be a psychology in this work,” Revland said, “a connection to the process of wood gathering and the creation of these pieces.” He adds that he hopes that story, along with the organic shapes of the wood, also serves to remind people of their connection to the Earth.

For more information about ecce gallery and tonight’s opening reception, check out our website’s event page.

Walk down Broadway after checking out the Revland event for some live music at the Listening Room.  Peter Mayer, guitarist, will start at 8 p.m.  According to the folks at the Listening Room: “For those of you who know Peter Mayer, you can attest to the quality of his concerts. Seldom will you hear Peter in the intimate atmosphere of The Listening Room. Don’t miss this unusual opportunity to her him up-close!”  For more information, click here.

Tracy Morgan, one of the stars of NBC’s “30 Rock”, visits the Fargo Theatre Saturday night, as part of his “Excuse My French” tour across the Midwest.  Tickets are still available for this very popular event.  Click here to go to our website for more information.

This is just a small sampling of what’s going on this weekend in Downtown Fargo.  For a full listing of events, check out our website.