Over the FARGODOME’s 30-year history, the home of the NDSU Bison, the metro area’s largest concert venue, and the start of the Fargo Marathon, USA Wrestling has brought people together in a way that didn’t seem possible for the Fargo-Moorhead area before it was built.
The proposed changes to the FARGODOME would bring the building up to compliance as well as provide a better guest experience for the events that the community knows and loves. This would also provide a space for guests to meet at events and tradeshows that have not been able to select Fargo as a host city before because of the lack of true meeting space within the metro area.
What is happening at the FARGODOME?
The Fargo Dome Authority is proposing two projects at the FARGODOME:
- A remodel of the current building to include alignment with current codes, enhancements to the guest experience, and improvements to address operational inefficiencies.
- A 90,000-square-foot addition to include 45,000 square feet of conference center space, a catering kitchen, a loading dock, and other service areas.
Why the FARGODOME?
Since 2013, the city in conjunction with various community leaders has conducted studies, reviewed potential spaces, and analyzed the data from various potential and current meeting planners to select the best space for the convention center.
Some main reasons behind the FARGODOME being the selected choice for the addition of meeting space are:
Any city-owned conference center will need to be managed by the existing city staff from the FARGODOME who are already trained and proficient in venue management. Co-locating the conference center at the FARGODOME will allow for logistical and financial efficiencies of shared staff, equipment, and overall infrastructure.
The addition of a conference center allows the FARGODOME to enhance its financial situation and introduce additional revenue sources like space rentals, equipment and staff charges, and catering income.
The FARGODOME has easy access for out-of-town guests via the Interstate and proximity to the Hector International Airport. There is currently an abundance of parking at the FARGODOME, and based on the addition of spaces in the lot west of the FARGODOME, parking comes out to net even. Should the development of a hotel property be added into the mix, a parking ramp would certainly be in consideration.
Why do we need more meeting space in Fargo?
Although there are many fantastic hotels with attached meeting spaces as well as standalone unique event spaces, the Fargo-Moorhead metro area is sorely lacking functional spaces for larger tradeshows and events that could utilize a traditional convention center.
A glance at the current meeting spaces in Fargo-Moorhead
The Holiday Inn: 27,000 square feet with the Great Hall able to host up to 1,400 people.
Delta Hotels by Marriott: 23,000 square feet with the largest ballroom able to host up to 1,800 people.
Avalon Event Center: 6,000 square feet able to host up to 500 people.
Sanctuary Event Center: 4,600 square feet able to host up to 375 people.
Proposed new conference space: 45,000 square feet with the ability to accommodate over 5,800 people at one time.
Read more about the conferences that could come to Fargo with this new space on the Tourism Advocacy page.
The economic impact that Conventions could have on Fargo-Moorhead
On average, direct visitor spending for a conference that could be hosted at the FARGODOME is between $400,000 and $500,000. Knowing the event will likely grow to be larger and double in direct visitor spending, you could expect something closer to $1.3 – 1.5 million per event.
The Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo metro area is missing out on millions of dollars in annual visitor spending due to its lack of significant meeting space. Visitors of all kinds (leisure, business, meetings, and sports) greatly contribute to the local economy. In 2022, hotel room nights alone in this metro area accounted for more than $130 million in spending. All of those visitors also spent millions more on shopping, food & beverage, gas, and entertainment.
What do the proposed new taxes mean to me?
Along with $30 million pulled from the FARGODOME’s escrow, the Fargo Dome Authority is proposing a twenty-year, one-quarter of one percent (.25%) sales tax, along with a 3% additional lodging tax. These new taxes would go into effect on April 1, 2024.
For local Fargo residents, an additional 1/4% sales tax means an extra $.25 on a $100, sales tax applicable, invoice. In other words, a resident would pay $25 on $10,000 worth of sales tax applicable items in Fargo for that year and would cap at $2,500 per single transaction or $6.25 sales tax per single transaction.
Remember that things like groceries are not subject to sales tax.
With this additional tax, Fargo’s sales tax rate of 7.75% will still remain lower than West Fargo and Moorhead’s rates.
Lodging taxes are paid by travelers who rent accommodations within city limits (hotel rooms, Airbnb, VRBO, etc.). Currently, Fargo has a 3% lodging tax in place which goes towards funding the Convention and Visitors Bureau which works towards bringing in more visitors and, in turn, bringing extreme economic impacts to the city.
Currently, 55% of FARGODOME users are from out of the area, by utilizing a lodging tax, they are able to contribute to the renovations and the full burden of the venue will not be on city residents alone. Basically, Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo residents will receive this $140 million building for $70 million of residents’ own money.
The proposed addition of a 3% lodging tax would mean that guests would see an additional $3 per $100 room invoice. The change would mean that Fargo’s lodging tax would increase to 6% which is well within the range of lodging taxes assessed by other major cities in the Midwest Region.