After years of debate, Fargo Tower is finally doomed for demolition

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After a few years of debate over whether to demolish or renovate the downtown Lashkowitz skyscraper, Fargo Housing & Redevelopment Authority director Jill Elliott confirmed the building was collapsing. .

Although officials said they would likely have the structure demolished, there was still some hesitation in recent years.

So, the housing authority hired a specialist, the Blue Line Development Co. of Missoula, MT, to make a final decision and decide how to proceed with the project.

Meanwhile, the 22-story home for seniors and residents with disabilities for 50 years has been emptied since last summer.

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As of mid-September, there were only 25 residents left in the 247 units that overlook the Red River and the southeastern portion of downtown. They are expected to find alternative accommodation by the end of the year, Elliott said, paving the way for the building to be demolished which could cost up to $ 5 million.

In another move, Elliot said they were making plans for the housing agency to build a 110-unit four- or five-story apartment building to once again provide affordable housing in this downtown area.

However, there is no guarantee on the new installation. Elliott said it all hinged on his agency getting federal, state and municipal funding.

Demolition is the best option

As for the demolition, Elliot said they would submit a request to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development in the coming weeks. HUD senior management has already agreed that this is the best option.

No date has been set for the shave, although as of last year, the city’s housing authority has been working with Montana-based Blue Line Development on how to do it.

The company, which specializes in projects like the skyscraper, determined that demolition was the best option because the building consists of small 300-square-foot units with low ceilings, asbestos in the walls, rotten pipes, lead-based paint and units with bed. Bugs.

“No one wants to live in such a small unit anymore,” Elliott said. “And there were no amenities.”

Elliott said the housing agency had been debating for more than a decade what to do with the “massive building,” which she said started out as strictly seniors’ housing. Then, younger people with lower incomes began to move in, which changed the composition of tenants.

About 10 years ago, the housing authority tried to create bigger housing by knocking down walls, Elliot said. But the experiment did not work well because of the structure of the building and the asbestos.

The director of the housing authority also recalled at one point that former U.S. Senator from North Dakota Byron Dorgan had approved an $ 11 million allocation to plan for the future of the structure, but that allotments were suddenly cut before the funding became reality.

So officials have been faced with the question of what to do for years.

Residents finally started moving last summer, knowing the building would be demolished or renovated. Former residents are scattered across town and are using vouchers to help pay rent, Elliot said.

The cost of demolition and asbestos abatement could reach $ 5 million, and Elliott said they were working to secure funding for the first stage of revitalizing the waterfront site.

Preliminary plans for the new building include one to three bedroom units with underground parking and other amenities never before available in the current skyscraper, Elliot said. The plan tentatively calls for the building to be called Lashkowitz Riverfront.

“It could be a really nice building overlooking the river,” Elliott said.

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