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Downtown Master Planning

Please view the below plans by selecting the images, each image will open up a PDF file. 

PDF Summary
 light blue logo 2  Downtown InFocus is a comprehensive and open planning process to envision the future for Downtown Fargo and to serve as a blueprint for the coming years. All members of the public are invited to help shape this plan for Fargo's core and take action to help implement the plan.
 GO2030 Cover1  GO2030 City Comprehensive Plan (2012) - The Fargo Comprehensive Plan establishes the community's vision for the future. This plan was generated with significant input from the community. The top 5 key initiatives highlighted in the plan include (1) permanent flood protection; (2) promote infill; (3) public art; (4) bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure; (5) design standards.
 Downtown Framework Plan Cover1  Downtown Framework Plan (2007) - The 2007 Framework Plan was a joint planning effort between the cities of Fargo and Moorhead. The intent was to strengthen connections between the two downtown areas and to catalyze urban style development in key areas. This was a higher elevation master planning effort with a focus on visioning, idea generation and catalyst project identification.
 Summary of Market Trends Cover1 Summary of Market Trends (2006) - As part of the process to update the 2007 Framework Plan, Maxfield Research Inc. provided analysis on market trends and potential redevelopment opportunities. The analysis surmised that the multi-family housing market should continue to grow through empty-nesters and younger households, and that the retail market was strong (largely via independent retailers) with a lower performing office market (86% of total office space was Class B square footage).
Framework Plan Cover1  Downtown Framework Plan (2002) - The 2002 Framework Plan was intended to provide a physical framework to illustrate and guide growth consistent with prior policy documents (1996 Downtown Area Plan) and Renaissance Zone Plans. The plan is more of an existing conditions analysis with a 16-point framework or implementation list that focuses on efforts such as connectivity to the Red River, downtown flood protection, rail quiet zones, farmers market, streetscape improvements and strategic infill projects. A majority of the recommendations have either been completed and/or are no longer appropriate.
Riverfront Development Master Plan Cover1   2003 Riverfront Master Plan (2003) - This plan was intended to further refine the 2002 Framework Plan into a master plan for riverfront redevelopment; with a focus of integrating the river as a cultural, recreational and natural resource amenity. The plan highlights the importance of activating the river corridor and creating a sense of identity, specific to 4 nodes: (1) Dike East/Midtown Dam and Main Avenue Bridge; (2) Mid America Steel; (3) 2nd Avenue connection to Viking Ship Park; (4) Community Gardens/Snow Dump Area.
RZ Plan Cover1  Renaissance Zone Plan (2015) - The Renaissance Zone (RZ) Program was formulated in 1999 and is intended to encourage economic development and investment in the downtown business district. The program provides opportunities for property tax and state income tax exemptions with varying minimum investment thresholds based on the type of project. North Dakota statute establishes a cap on the number of RZ blocks available to each municipality - with Fargo allocated with a total of 49 blocks. The RZ program has been an instrumental economic development tool for the downtown area, producing over $125 million of investment in the downtown core over the last 15 years.
Fargo Housing Study 2015 Cover1   Fargo Housing Study (2015) - The City of Fargo and Fargo Housing Authority jointly completed a housing study that analyzed growth and related housing dynamics within the city. Notable key findings were that population and housing unit growth projections remain strong in Fargo and that the rental and student housing markets continue to support new market-rate, multi-family development with low vacancy rates. A portion of this study was specific to the downtown area (Section 14) with key findings that the multi-family market is a significant opportunity (high demand, very low vacancy rates) and that the demographic and socioeconomic profile of downtown households is continuing to shift and evolve.
LDC Cover1   Land Development Code (LDC) - A majority of the properties in the downtown area have a Downtown Mixed-Use (DMU) zoning designation pursuant to the Fargo Land Development Code (LDC). Within the DMU zoning district, the City code does not restrict building heights and properties can be built-out to the property lines (there are no setback requirements). Additionally, there are no minimum parking requirements in the DMU district. Design standards are limited - with some restrictions on materials for any building elevation that is visible from the street right-of-way and ground-floor transparency. For additional details on the existing zoning code applicable to the downtown area, please view the link to the left (PDF pages 27-29).
Streetscape Guidelines Cover1  Streetscape Guidelines (in progress) - The City has contracted with a local landscape architecture firm (Land Elements Inc.) to complete streetscape guidelines for downtown Fargo. The intent of the document is to provide the tools to support implementation of successful streetscapes concurrent with roadway re-construction efforts in the downtown area over the next 10-15 years. The guidelines are intended to establish a framework for placement and organization of streetscape elements with consideration to maintenance, costs and long term functionality.
Flood Protection Cover1     Flood Protection - Following a series of floods in the late 1990's and early 2000's, the Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Area has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to establish a comprehensive flood mitigation plan. At this time, the locally preferred plan includes a diversion channel with upstream staging which would reduce flood stages through the protected areas to a river stage of 35 feet during a 100-year event and a stage of 40+ feet during a 500-year event. At these river stage levels, flood risk management projects are still necessary within city limits to reduce the reliance on emergency levees and sandbags during a flood fight. A portion of the downtown core is within the current floodplain and the 41-foot inundation pool (i.e. future floodplain without a diversion). As such, there are two (2) major downtown flood protection projects currently underway that will establish certifiable protection for downtown properties. The 2nd Street Flood Control Project will provide protection (flood wall) between NP Avenue and 6th Avenue North and will require the re-alignment of 2nd Street North. The project also includes flood mitigation improvements for a portion of 2nd Street South between 4th Street and Main Avenue, which will include a combination of flood wall and earthen levee. As a result of these flood control projects, there is potential opportunities for redevelopment and master planning activities in these areas.

Overall Construction Phasing 12-22-15 (PDF)
Performing Arts Center Feasibility Study Cover   Performing Arts Center Feasibility Study (2015) - In 2015, the City engaged a consulting team to assess the feasibility of re-purposing the Civic Center (207 4th Street North) into a performance venue. The study notes that the metropolitan area lacks an indoor performance venue (fine arts performances) suitable for events that attract between 1,000 and 3,000 attendees - and that the existing Civic Center will lose at least half of its annual attendees (primarily consumer shows) commensurate with the removal of the attached exhibition hall (Centennial Hall) as a result of a new City Hall. The development costs for a 116,000 square foot state-of-the-art venue compared to renovation costs of the existing Civic Center are roughly $50 million; with various pros and cons for each scenario. The study does note that the demographic and market dynamics in this area are clearly able to support a performing arts center. Further, the study suggests that the downtown area is the ideal backdrop for a performance venue and that "future planning and development efforts should consider the interrelationship between a performance center, retail, dining amenities, parking, pedestrian connections..." and that this project should be analyzed as part of an overall master plan for the development of the civic center plaza area.

Other Partner Organizations & Plans of Relevance

see thru logo 2 Why Downtown Fargo?

Downtown Fargo is the city's foundation and represents a connection to both the area's past and its future. Downtown's unique character has attracted national television programming and is a major factor in attracting and retaining talent in the region. Whether you live and/or work in downtown or not, downtown is a critical component of the region's economy.

For more information, please view the Downtown InFocus webpage.