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Business North - The Daily Briefing - Business Newspaper Online
Maurices will donate downtown headquarters to UMD
PHOTO: Maurices President George Goldfarb, left, hands a symbolic key for the Maurices headquarters building to UMD Chancellor Lendley Black.
Duluth-based Maurices will donate its downtown headquarters building to the University of Minnesota Duluth when the clothing firm moves into a new office tower at the end of 2015.
The recently-renovated four-story building at 105 W. Superior contains 75,000 square feet and include meeting rooms, a fitness center, auditorium and is connected to the Skywalk. It has been occupied by Maurices since the company was founded in 1931, said George Goldfarb, president. For many years, it was occupied by Maurices and Maurices Mens.
UMD made a great business case in seeking to obtain the structure from Maurices, Goldfarb said.
“We made the decision after carefully reviewing a couple of white papers from a couple of different sources. UMD’s definitely was the best. They have a great community need,” he said at a morning news conference.
UMD Chancellor Lendley Black said has strived to “more-deeply integrate UMD into the Duluth community.
“Thanks to the generosity and ongoing support of Maurices, UMD will take a significant step toward having a downtown Duluth campus,” Black said. Courses and possibly entire degree programs will be offered at the structure, along with academic conferences, continuing education, certificate programs and courses for adult learners. UMD back office functions may also be housed there, he said.
University of Minnesota Regent Dave McMillan, executive vice president at Minnesota Power, and Mayor Don Ness wee key players in facilitating Maurices donation, Black said.
“The mayor’s vision of building an even greater and more vibrant downtown is one that is shared with UMD,” the chancellor said.
The campus will occupy the structure in the spring or summer of 2016 after Maurices relocates to its new office tower at 425 W. Superior St. Work on that project, valued at $50 million, is set to begin this April.
Maurices currently occupies two additional downtown structures that also will become vacant when the nationwide retailer relocates to its new headquarters. The future status of those buildings has raised concerns, particularly among commercial property owners who fear the market could become flooded with empty space.
Interest in those structures has been high, Goldfarb said.
“I want everybody to know we are so committed to a thriving, vibrant downtown,” Goldfarb said. “We’re working hard now to fill our buildings. We’re optimistic about the future.”
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