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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
425 project scaled back; completion set in two years
PHOTO: The 425 building will replace an existing structure, right, that once housed KDLH-TV. The Radisson Duluth is in the background.
The plan to build an office tower at 425 W. Superior St. has been scaled back slightly but is expected to be completed by December 2015, sponsors revealed Monday evening.
Chris Eng, the city's director of business and economic development, provided a project update to Duluth City Councilors. Original project discussions included two upper floors to accommodate additional commercial space. Those no longer are included in the project, according to a statement issued by sponsors.
“We want maurices to be able to move ahead as quickly as possible to meet their timeline and space needs,” said Brian Forcier, President of AtWater Group, which brought the project forward and has served as its developer. “This project has always been about providing space for maurices to accommodate its business growth and retain its corporate headquarters in downtown Duluth. Our plan was to create space on the upper two floors for other businesses that were adding new jobs. But after further evaluation, we didn’t think it was prudent or responsible to create additional vacancies by shifting tenants in downtown and vacating other spaces.”
The revised project meets the City of Duluth’s height variance requirements. The state of Minnesota has approved the revised scope.
Demolition is likely to begin in spring 2014.
Eng said that maurices is the building’s major tenant and investor, committing $50 million of the project’s estimated $70 million cost.
The new building will allow maurices to add 150 jobs in Duluth, said George Goldfarb, president.
"With nearly 900 stores in the U.S. and Canada, 8,000 associates nationwide and more than 400 associates based in Duluth, we need the extra space to accommodate our growth," he said in a prepared statement. "We’re so thrilled to be keeping our headquarters in downtown Duluth, where we have been for 80 years.”
The new building will be approximately 200,000 square feet and stand 10 to 12 stories. maurices will occupy five to six floors of office space. AtWater Group plans to develop 15,000 square feet of commercial and retail space on the Superior Street ground level and is seeking a restaurant, a coffee shop and other commercial and retail tenants. A public parking ramp with approximately 500 parking spots will take four to five floors of space.
RSP Architects is working on the schematic design phase of the project, which includes the overall size and shape of the building, the specific number of floors for office and retail space based on required square footage, the exterior design and the parking ramp. The schematic design also will include planned entrances and exits, including skywalks, elevators, street-level accessibility and traffic flow in and out of the parking ramp. The building design is expected to be unveiled in early December 2013.
Along with maurices’ $50 million investment, AtWater is committing $3 million to develop the commercial and retail space, and the City of Duluth and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development are committing $17 million for the public parking ramp and skywalk infrastructure through a matching grant program.
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