Photos by Alexandra Martin
Real estate development company The Kilbourne Group is largely to thank for the thriving boom that downtown Fargo has seen in recent years. Kilbourne’s RoCo Apartments were completed in 2017 and have anchored much of this downtown development since then. Come with us as we tour the unit of tenant Scottie Knollin and see why he picked his building and how he’s made it his own.
Atop 13,000 square feet of commercial space are 72 minimal and modern units that makeup RoCo Apartments. Located just a half-block off Broadway and within a block of over 50 restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retailers and other establishments, RoCo Apartments are truly at the heart and center of downtown Fargo.
Units within RoCo come in 13 unique floorplans that range from 408 to 1,117 square feet, including 24 studios, 36 one-bedroom and 12 two-bedroom apartments. Each unit complete with a washer and dryer in-unit, stainless steel appliances and luxurious granite countertops. Residents also benefit from parking garage access on each floor, cable/internet and utilities included in rent, a pet relief and pet wash station and secure bike storage.
The seven-story parking garage that RoCo is wrapped around is a huge benefit to residents and community members alike. The garage is owned and operated by the City of Fargo and Interstate Parking, while the mixed-use building surrounding it is developed by Kilbourne Group. This means that the parking is open and available to all. The RoCo garage and apartments were built on the property at the corner of 2nd Avenue North and Roberts Street, land that once was a parking lot. So it’s only apt that this spot remains a parking haven.
If the prime location wasn’t enough, more convenience comes with the LATCH keyless entry system throughout the building. RoCo residents use the LATCH app instead of a key to get in and out of their units and to access secure entry points throughout.
Scottie Knollin is a Fargo transplant by way of California. But before he was a west-coaster, he grew up in the Atlanta area and holds firm to some of those southern roots. Knollin shares his apartment with Norman the corgi, a vibrant little guy who enjoys chasing sunbeams and greeting everyone he meets with his trademark grin and booty-wag.
Knollin’s time in his apartment is heavily filled with enjoying films. While in California, Knollin worked in the film industry and carries that passion for the business with him today. His unit is not filled with taped up movie posters, but rather his love for the art is seen through his selection of books that were adapted into movies and DVDs of the classics. To keep his passion going, Knollin runs a blog called AllTheHitsSoFar.com, where he combines his love of movies with his love or writing, crafting pieces on industry news, film reviews, award season coverage and more.
Knollin ended up in Fargo as the result of a nation-wide road trip to explore all that the United States can offer (coverage of this adventure can be read in Knollin’s first book “A Long Way Home“). When looking to find a new city to call “home,” Fargo checked all the boxes he was looking for.
“I was looking for my next home to be in a city or town where it could be walkable and either in a season of growth or thriving. […]So as I started pinpointing where I wanted to end up, Fargo kept checking off all those things on my list,” said Knollin.
After living here just two years, Knollin has already made a mark on the community and is sure to be a staple in the ever-changing tapestry of the city.
While he was not a pet parent at the time of moving in, Knollin is now the proud owner of Norman the corgi. Having a pet-friendly apartment complete with a dog washing station and a pet relief area allowed Knollin to adopt the furry friend when it was in need of a new home. The central location of RoCo also allows for Knollin to take Norman on walks around the active community, sniffing new things and meeting new friends with every trip around the block.
When Scottie Knollin arrived at the doorstep of the RoCo Apartments with all his belongings packed into a Honda Civic, he was ready for a new adventure.
Having arrived early for his move-in appointment, Knollin stopped in YoungBlood, a coffee shop located just at the base of the apartment complex. While grabbing coffee, Knollin met one of YoungBlood’s owners Elisha Griffin and learned that she was also a Califonia transplant. “It was wild that the first person I met when moving from California was a person who moved here from California too. She said the same thing I felt, that she liked being part of a community that was growing and had a lot of potential. And that they liked being part of that potential,” he said. Before he even stepped foot in his new apartment, this serendipitous meeting reaffirmed his choice to make downtown Fargo his new community.
This sense of community is what drew Knollin to not only Fargo, but the RoCo Apartments themselves. “I was looking for an apartment and it had to be located in a downtown area where I could have easy access to walk places like restaurants and stores,” he said. “Downtown Fargo is very walkable and a thriving and growing community.” Coming from the coast, Knollin noted that he’s seen big cities that have plateaued and have lost their personality and identity. But to Knollin, he saw that Fargo was a city in the midst of growth, and that was something he wanted to be a part of. He admired how the city was maintaining the small-town feel it had 20-to-30 years ago while also establishing its future and the identity it will become. “I’m learning to be a person in the community here and what my identities as a Fargoan and a North Dakotan are. It’s fun to be learning that as the city is also trying to learn it,” he said.
Amenities like on-site parking and having a washer and dryer in-unit have become essentials for any new downtown Fargo apartment, but coming from a city like L.A., these details were especially impressive to Knollin. In California, Knollin never knew where he’d have to street park each night, so having access to RoCo’s parking garage was a huge selling point. Plus, knowing that snow would be a new experience for him, this garage also ensured that he wouldn’t need to plow snow from a parking spot or have to scrape ice off the windshield.
This wasn’t the only building Knollin considered when moving to Fargo, but details like the dark wood cabinets and large windows that matched his own tastes and made it ideal. He noted that he enjoys seeing other units in the building and how other tenants have used similar layouts. No matter your personal style, the RoCo units seem to morph to fit whatever the tenant makes of it.
When it comes to interior design, Knollin considers himself a minimalist. He doesn’t like a lot of clutter and he prefers a simple color palette and design. From picking out furniture to looking at apartments, he looks for designs that are clean and fresh. One thing that drew him to the RoCo units was that they already matched his tastes and offered a canvas to make it whatever he wanted. “Anyone can come into the space and do anything they want. But for me, [RoCo] is nice because it is clean and, as a creative person, I need my space to be that way,” said Knollin.
As mentioned, Knollin moved into his new apartment with only what would fit in his car. This meant that he brought with him mostly clothing and meaningful artifacts. This also meant that he had the opportunity to buy new furniture that would perfectly fit the space. When living in California, Knollin had two roommates, which made furniture and decor choices a hodgepodge of tastes and styles. “It was frustrating living in a space that doesn’t feel like yours,” he said. Now, in his very own unit, Knollin has the freedom to get the things he wants and to inhale that breath of fresh air he was needing.
The resulting furniture choices are a mix of modern and contemporary. He was intentional about his choices and didn’t want to pick out a bunch of pieces just for the sake of filling the space. “That’s why I still haven’t gotten a TV stand,” he joked, saying that he has an idea in his mind of what he wants, but just hasn’t been able to find the perfect one yet. Everything coordinates, but isn’t matchy-matchy. Knollin tends to try and find things that are interesting to him but that can still serve a function, keeping the small space from getting cluttered. Even choices like a glass-topped coffee table and an open-bookshelf let the space breathe while still serving their purpose.
At the end of the day, Knollin and Norman have truly made the most of this space. From intentional design details to meaningful artifacts, this unit is the most “home” Knollin has felt in a while.
To take a virtual tour, explore different floor plans, and learn more about the building, visit LiveatRoco.com or check them out on Instagram @roberts_commons