Photos by Alexandra Martin
The year 2020 has given us a number of changes, both good and challenging. While every industry has seen some sort of change, the real estate sector has especially had to adapt to some big shifts. Technology had to be in place to allow for virtual showings of listings, the much-beloved face-to-face meetings between Realtor and client had to transition to video chats and historically low interest rates have made for a rush to make the purchase. But for PARK CO. REALTORS®, perhaps the most exciting change in 2020 has been the move to their new office location.
Founded in 1956, PARK CO., REALTORS® is the #1 independent brokerage in Fargo-Moorhead, and the state of North Dakota. With such a long, rich history, the company wanted to continue staying up-to-date on where the industry and the metro area is heading. Part of this came with a new, brave leader. When Jill Carlson bought the real estate brokerage in June of 2019, the extraordinary transition began to take place.
One of the biggest changes Carlson enacted was moving their main office from downtown Fargo, where it had been for over 63 years, to south Fargo. In March, PARK CO. made the move to the “Suites at 4170,” located just west of Aldevron and just north of Microsoft. This move offered PARK CO. the opportunity to be closer to both their clientele and the exploding growth that’s happening around the south side of the Fargo metro area. With a reputation for providing excellent service, the move to South Fargo brings better assistance to its clients by offering a convenient location that is easier to reach.
“We were finding that, as our community continues to expand southward, some of our clients and agents didn’t want to make the drive downtown. It wasn’t convenient for them. Our agents were working from home and meeting clients in coffee shops, and that didn’t feel like the kind of professional service we pride ourselves on providing,” said President/Owner Jill Carlson.
From their new location, PARK CO., REALTORS® can provide clients with a modern and professional meeting space that offers state-of-the-art technology. “Although the focus of our business has been, and will continue to be, all about face-to-face relationships, we are able to implement new technology to provide a smoother and easier real estate experience for both our agents and clients. Ultimately, raving clients and happy agents is our goal,” said Carlson.
The new 10,000 square foot space is light, bright and spacious, factors that are essentially required for any new office. “One of the first things that drew us to the building was the large number of windows on all sides of the building. Everywhere you look, there is natural light,” said Carlson. “It is so energizing to look up and see sunlight all around you, especially on those cold winter days.”
With the help of JLG Architects and Great States Construction, space planning was an important part of the process. Another goal for the new office was to be able to bring all the various divisions of PARK CO. under one roof. In addition to residential services, the new space allows for PARK CO. COMMERCIAL, PARK MORTGAGE and PARK CO. PROPERTIES to be housed together, truly streamlining processes. Having all service divisions in one spot provides convenience for both clients and agents alike. To achieve this unity while still allowing the sectors to be their own divisions, the office is split into distinct and intentional sections.
Jokingly called the “mullet plan” by the team, the vision for the office followed the ideal of “business in the front, party in the back.” This plan included a formal quiet space for meeting clients towards the front and an informal space for the agents and staff at the back of the building. To provide space for agents to meet with clients, the large lobby is home to five private conference rooms. Each of the conference rooms is equipped with flat-screen TV’s that allow clients to view properties and agents to discuss important documents digitally.
The “party in the back” continues with the agent bullpen, designed to be one big, open space that could easily be reconfigured as the company continues to grow. “We wanted to create an open office concept for our agents who enjoy collaborating with each other, but at the same time, we needed to carve out areas for privacy. This was accomplished by creating huddle rooms on the perimeter of the open agent bullpen.“ Realtors are known as a social bunch, and PARK CO. Realtors are especially known for their friendly and social demeanor. This means there is always the buzz of conversation and laughter going on in the office. But sometimes you need a quiet space to work, and the huddle rooms provide just that. When ready to fully embrace the social aspect, the lounge adjacent to the agent bullpen creates a space for both agents and staff to relax, grab a cup of coffee, watch TV or read.
Moving upstairs, the upper level of the office was designed for multi-functional use. Its kitchen features a spacious island that is the automatic focal point of any get-together or meeting. The smaller tables scattered around the large room make for a perfect backdrop for meetings or company-wide training sessions. All the furniture can be easily moved to allow for company events and parties of any size. For more intimate gatherings, the back of the upper level has a dedicated room designed to host training for smaller groups. “One of the things we really wanted was a space for hosting fun gatherings. Not only do we use it for company entertaining, but our agents and staff can use it for their own private events,” said Carlson. One of the last projects yet to be finished is the “game area.” The staff is still deciding what to put in that space, but it will most likely be a ping-pong table or shuffleboard table. At the heart of PARK CO. is a fun-loving spirit, and this space fits that ideal just right.
With the flow and layout just the way they wanted it, PARK CO. enlisted Trever Hill of Trever Hill Design to make it feel like home. The goal for the interior design was to create a “home within the office” concept with a mid-century modern vibe, complete with PARK CO.’s signature orange accents, of course. The furniture and décor needed to feel like it belonged in a home, and not in a sterile office building. Trever Hill Design is known for blending professional style with personal touches, so the team got to play with adding some funky elements to make the space feel extra unique. “Our top priority was to create a warm and welcoming environment for our clients. We strive to provide the best experience possible and we wanted our office to be another example of that,” said Carlson. “Secondly, we wanted to create a fun and inviting space for our agents and staff. They all work so hard and they deserve the best.”
Having recently commemorated their Grand Reopening with a private Chamber Ribbon Cutting, PARK CO., REALTORS® is looking forward to a larger public celebration in the future that will include clients, friends and community members once COVID restrictions have been removed. This year we’ve seen new opportunities, new challenges and, now, a new location for PARK CO., REALTORS®. We can only imagine what important decisions and memories will happen in this space.