FARGO, North Dakota — Fargo real estate developer and businessman Ace Brandt, owner of the Fargo Force hockey team and developer of Scheels Arena, has died after a battle with brain cancer.

Brandt, president and board chairman of Brandt Holdings, a Fargo-based company that operates businesses in real estate, agriculture, and industrial equipment across the Upper Midwest, learned of his condition about six months ago, according to company public relations consultant Kathy Borge.

He died surrounded by family at home Saturday morning, Oct. 16, at age 60, Borge said.

One of the businessman's lasting marks on the Fargo-Moorhead area is southwest Fargo's Urban Plains development, an area south of the new Sanford Medical Center that only 15 years ago was largely open fields.

Scheels arena in southwest Fargo. Special to The Forum
Scheels arena in southwest Fargo. Special to The Forum

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Now, that area is home to housing, restaurants, office space, and Scheels Arena, the venue where Brandt's Fargo Force hockey team plays.

In 2007, Brandt donated 15 acres of land, then worth about $10 million, for the arena originally known as the Urban Plains Center, according to Forum archives.

Brandt, the son of farmer Larry Brandt, grew up on a family farm in the Kindred, North Dakota, area, Borge said. He took control of the farm at age 18 in 1979 when his father died, and founded Brandt Holdings in 1992, according to the company website.

"He has a lot of energy and he's an entrepreneur and he's really propelled the company into what it is today," said Borge, who told The Forum in a phone interview that Brandt credited the success of his business with the people who surrounded him.

His upbringing on a family farm also helped, added Borge, who said she had known Brandt for more than 20 years.

Brandt is survived by his three grown children, his wife Brittany and her two children, his brother Tyler, and his mother and stepfather, Karen and Ron Offutt.

The top management team of Brandt Holdings will take control of the company, Borge said.

Brandt Holdings operates businesses across the Dakotas, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. Its hospitality division portfolio includes hotels in the Fargo area and New Jersey, Georgia, and Oregon.

Of all the company's operations, Brandt's John Deere stores were among his favorite, as that part of his business helped farmers get back on their feet, Borge said.

"He absolutely just loved walking to a store, one of his dealerships, and talking with technicians that were fixing equipment," she said.