Celebrate milestone in renovation of Fargo’s iconic Black Building

The Kilbourne Group is ready for new tenants in the Black Building.

Business leaders gathered Tuesday, Sept. 24, at downtown’s Art Deco icon for a ribbon-cutting and tours of completed executive offices on the fully renovated fifth floor of the building.

“In terms of what was kept and what was replaced, the Kilbourne Group has done an awesome job,” said Brad Schlossman, grandson of George M. Black, who commissioned the construction of the building. “It’s just a wonderful day.”

The $18 million renovation of the 125,000-square-foot building has been done in phases, with whole floors gutted and the electrical, heating, air conditioning and ventilation systems upgraded or replaced. All 280 of the old single-pane windows were replaced with energy efficient windows that look remarkably like the originals. Some asbestos abatement was also done, as was masonry and stone cleaning and regrouting.

The cornerstone for the building at 118 Broadway was laid in 1930 and it was completed in 1931.

Mike Allmendinger, president of Kilbourne Group, praised Black’s willingness to take a risk after the 1929 stock market crash.

“The belief he had in Fargo …. that’s very inspirational to take that risk,” Allmendinger told the scores of business people at the event.

Big plusses for the building include terrazzo floors throughout and windows on all four sides, which allow in a great deal of natural light, Allmendinger said.

But overall, the building was built to last, from the foundation up, Allmendinger said.

“This building hasn’t moved at all,” he said. “Every part of this building was built with tremendous quality.”

A replica of the original sign was installed earlier this year. The 30-foot-tall sign has the word “BLACK” in red neon letters, outlined with white LED lights.

Next up, Doosan Bobcat North America will move into its offices on the fourth floor, Allmendinger said. The space will be geared toward innovation and digitizing the company’s products and services, Doosan Bobcat officials have said.

It is described by Doosan Bobcat as an “internal startup space,” and the work area will provide a space that will help spur creative thinking.

Rent for the fifth-floor suites ranges from $1,350 a month for an individual suite to $4,600 a month for a 2,009-square-foot team suite. Among the amenities are parking, a rooftop patio, kitchenette, conference room and wellness room.

The Black Building was purchased by Kilbourne Group in 2016.

The basement and first floor is envisioned to be a place for food and beverage establishments, Allmendinger said. The mezzanine through eighth floors will be dedicated to office space, he said.

Melissa Radermacher, president and CEO of the Downtown Community Partnership, praised the Kilbourne Group’s efforts.

“When you walk through this building, it’s incredible,” Radermacher said.

Fargo City Commissioner Dave Piepkorn said the Kilbourne Group has set “a very high bar” for development.

“This is what we were hoping for,” Piepkorn said of the city’s use of the Renaissance Zone and other tax breaks to encourage development. “Any developers out there, we have a lot of opportunities out there.”