Downtown Fargo – City Center Comprehensive Plan

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December 14, 2015



I. Introduction:

The City of Fargo, North Dakota is seeking a multi-disciplinary and dynamic consultant team to lead a downtown planning effort to create a coordinated and thoughtful strategic plan that builds upon efforts outlined in GO2030 (Fargo Comprehensive Plan), examines relationships and generates a cohesive plan to address the following: vision/branding, market data, transportation, economic development, land use, parking and infrastructure. The strategic plan will require a strong public engagement process. As an end product, the City is looking for a visioning document and a blueprint to guide public infrastructure, investment and decision making in the downtown area.

II. Plan Goals:

  1. To set a vision to drive investment;
  2. Establish a blueprint to guide public infrastructure and investment;
  3. Coordinate decision making across City departments and between the public and private sector.

III. General Background:

Fargo, with a population of 115,863, serves as a regional economic hub for the Upper Plains with specific strengths in the education, medical, agricultural and retail industries. The community has continually been recognized among the best places in the country to live, work, attend school and conduct business.

Fargo’s downtown core has experienced a significant renaissance after suffering for many decades as a result of shifting demographic, cultural and economic norms. The downtown core has seen property values rise by nearly 195% since 1999 and potential or pending investments in the downtown core could be unequivocally staggering in the next several years. Throughout the last several decades the City has completed a handful of master planning efforts in the downtown core; however, these efforts have been high elevation and most of the recommendations have been completed and/or are no longer appropriate. More importantly, there has not been a comprehensive effort to align the “visioning” aspect of downtown planning with more specific sub-area planning or fundamental details to more closely guide decision making and implementation.

More recently, shifting trends in the downtown area has resulted in an engaged and active demographic with a median age much less than previous plans contemplated. Economies have shifted towards start-up and technology with the inclusion of young entrepreneurs. The addition of arts, placemaking and additional housing has brought forth energy that has not been captured or leveraged as part of past planning efforts.

IV. Scope of Work:

As envisioned by the City, the scope of work would be focused on the preceding seven (7) items. The topic areas below are only intended to serve as a framework for the scoping and proposal process; with a few corresponding notes for additional clarity. The intent of this skeleton outline is to provide as much opportunity and flexibility for a consultant to outline a proposal and process that will meet and/or further advance the City’s goals.

​A. Vision & Branding:

See plan goals outlined above, specifically Goal #1. In terms of branding, this potentially includes two items: (1) branding the master planning process; and more importantly (2) creating a brand as part of this effort that can be used as an economic development tool.

B. Market Data:

A sophisticated compilation of demographic, socio-economic and possibly most importantly market and real estate data that can be used to support economic development initiatives.

C. Transportation:

The City intends to re-construct a majority of the downtown roadways within the next 10-15 years. With this unique opportunity the City is anticipating the need for a community developed strategic plan that sets the vision and framework for how the downtown roadway network will function; with consideration to redevelopment and investment potential by block as well as overall roadway functionality, parking, transit, bicycle/pedestrian infrastructure, aesthetics and streetscape; and with an increased focus on bicycle/pedestrian movements and complete streets.

D. Economic Development:

In the next 15-20 years the success of the City and the downtown area will be dependent on the ability to facilitate and stimulate infill projects. This component of the plan should build upon existing economic development infrastructure such as the Renaissance Zone (RZ).

E. Land Use / Redevelopment:

The plan should identify urban design opportunities based on land dynamics and economics – such as opportunities to frame block corners, increase density, establish ground floor retail or commercial and improve building coverage – with consideration to customized incentives and applicable form based code concepts. The City does want to be cognizant of gentrification and providing housing for mixed incomes.

F. Parking:

This component of the effort needs to address a wide range of parking program items including management strategies, operations and technology integration. Furthermore, the community needs to be engaged in discussing the relationship between parking and economic development and to ultimately formulate a plan to provide and fund parking in the downtown core based on various growth and investment scenarios.

G. Infrastructure:

Plan integration with City infrastructure capacity planning.

V. Proposal Content:

A. Proposal:

The intent of the RFP is to assess and evaluate each respondent’s capabilities, qualifications and work proposal. Proposals will be evaluated based on the criteria outlined in this RFP. Interested respondents shall include a memorandum formalizing said interest and shall also include the following:

  • Cover Letter: A letter signed by a principal or authorized representative whom can make legally binding commitments on behalf of the entity or project team.
  • Experience/Qualifications: A profile of the respondents experience, personnel and history respective to the primary objectives outlined above and any variations, additions or modifications to the scope as may be proposed by the respondent.
  • Proposal: Proposals shall include a narrative description that outlines the proposed process and schedule to complete the project.
  • Work Product Examples: Proposals should include examples of work products (not entire reports) to provide the selection committee with a representative sample of expertise, artistry, creativity, technique, etc.
  • References: At least three (3) references to clients whom have had similar work completed within the last five (5) years.
  • Fee: Proposals shall outline the corresponding fee for services.

VI. RFP Schedule:

A. Proposal Schedule:

Proposals will be accepted up until 4:30 p.m. on Friday January 29th, 2016. Proposals should be directed to the following address or submitted electronically (PDF) to the City of Fargo at

Contact: Any questions can be directed to Joe Nigg, City of Fargo Planning Department by phone at 701.241.1473 or by email at

City of Fargo
Attn: Planning Department
200 3rd Street North
Fargo, North Dakota 58102

B. Schedule of Dates:

  • Advertise for Consultant Proposals: 12/14/2015
  • Deadline for Proposal Submission: 01/29/2016
  • Review Proposals (week of): 02/01/2016
  • Interviews / Contract Negotiation (week of): 02/15/2016
  • City Commission Approval and Contract Execution: March 2016
  • Project Completed: December 2016

C. Selection Committee:

The City of Fargo has designated a sub-committee that will serve as the selection committee for this RFP. Final review and any contract approval will be completed by the City Commission.

D. Criteria:

The City of Fargo intends to award the contract to the firm which best meets the City’s needs. The following criteria shall apply:

  • Understanding of Project Objectives
  • Past Experience and Demonstrated Technical Capabilities
  • Key Personnel Assigned to the Project (Qualifications, Experience)
  • Team Composition
  • Proposal (work plan, process, schedule) and Corresponding Fee for Services

Terms / Conditions:

The City reserves the right to reject any or all proposals or any proposal in whole or in part.

VIII. Resources:

See for a comprehensive list of downtown resources, past plans and applicable planning efforts.

Download the Full Job Description here.