Downtown Fargo has seen immense growth over the last decade, and there’s even more to come for this fast-growing neighborhood. Over 1,000 apartment units have been added in the last five years and roughly 600 are set to come online in the next two years. Companies are choosing the central business district to increase their brand awareness, recruit talent, and work collaboratively with their neighbors. Visitors from all over come to downtown Fargo for the 45 retailers, 41 restaurants, 22 bars and breweries, and 10 coffee shops, all within blocks of each other. The demand for unique retailers has never been stronger in downtown Fargo.
With 5,000 residents and 18,000 employees, downtown Fargo is far from a sleepy urban center.
For downtown retailers, brand visibility and foot traffic are key ingredients for success, and with a central Walk Score® of 94, downtown Fargo is one of the most accessible neighborhoods in North Dakota.
Sense Of Place
The draw of Fargo’s urban center goes beyond the businesses that make up this community. In fact, the inviting nature of our downtown starts with an unexpected aspect of design: ratios.
“By bringing the storefronts closer to the streets and maintaining stretches of inviting, multi-story buildings, pedestrians see more building than open space and horizon. This creates a sense of enclosure, and our brains are naturally attracted to the feelings of protection and comfort this creates,” says Mike Zimney, Senior Development Project Manager at Kilbourne Group. “This kind of placemaking is seen in the best streets, plazas, and city centers around the world.”
The ratio of street width to building height creates the foundations for a space that people intuitively want to be, harkening back to thousands of years of successful human design. Our sense of place is then enhanced by design elements like blooming planters and flower beds, lamp posts adorned with seasonal decor, and outdoor seating for local restaurants.
Sense of Community
What makes downtown Fargo isn’t just about its places, though. It’s also about the people who inhabit them. Our downtown has all the hallmarks of an urban center, but this closely knit community gives it a distinct small-town twist. When we talk to downtown Fargo business owners, there’s a consistent message of support and collaboration. Downtown Fargo doesn’t just offer places to be, it offers places to belong, which is why the businesses here have clientele that come back day after day to support them.
Downtown Fargo is also home to a wide array of events, including the Downtown Fargo Street Fair, Frostival, Folkways Night Bazaar, Christkindlmarkt, TEDxFargo, and the Downtown Community Partnership Holiday Lights and St. Patrick’s Day parades.
Fargo Broadway Square
With the recent 2020 addition of Broadway Square, our downtown can expect more area visitors and tourists to become patrons of the neighborhood. The Square has over 200 events slated for 2021 alone and will also host the Red River Market, which drives over 100,000 people to Fargo’s urban core each year. Outside of programming, Broadway Square’s green space will be available for visitors to hang out, grab lunch, and meet with friends.
“We’re going to look at this ‘pre’ and ‘post’ era of before and after Broadway Square,” said Zimney during a recent talk for CreativeMornings. “That’s how big of an impact it’s going to have on this area.”
Downtown Fargo’s network of hotel rooms is also set to expand with the opening of Jasper Hotel in Spring 2021 as part of the Block 9 project. Inspired by Fargo’s father of hospitality, Jasper Hotel is comprised of 125 guestrooms carefully curated with our city’s history, art, architecture, and culture in mind as well as Rosewild, a restaurant specializing in reimagined Midwestern cuisine.
For those that commute to our downtown to shop, dine, and play, parking has never been more convenient. Since 2017, more than 1,100 parking spaces have been added to the neighborhood, spread throughout the downtown area to ensure that, no matter where you’re headed, parking is easy to find. The City of Fargo has also maintained free street parking for our urban center, and parking lots and ramps remain a cost-effective option for downtown visitors.
Choose from preserved historic retail locations at Loudon, Hancock, or Loretta, or opt for a new mixed-use project for a more modern feel. Several projects are also set to open between now and 2022, including Block 9, Mercantile, Kesler, and The Landing at 1001 NP.