Maurices makes stake in Duluth for the future.

The news that everyone had seemed to have been waiting for for weeks pertaining to the new 15 story $80 million office building downtown was released yesterday. And unlike the Duluth News Tribune who kind of rudely spoiled the major announcement for the city of Duluth by posting the news 18 hours before the event and then unprofessionally commenting on how they were first to announce it, we waited (not that we are bitter or anything). So here's the new tenant that will occupy a large portion of Duluth's newest development.

Maurices Corporation, which is headquartered in downtown Duluth, will be moving a few blocks down the road in 2015 to occupy more than 60% (180,000 sqf) of the over 300,000 square feet at the new 425W office building. The news was announced at a formal gathering yesterday in collaboration with the City of Duluth, the Atwater Group, and Maurices Corporation. Maurices plans to move it's 385 current employees down the block into the new building in 2015 while also adding 100+ new jobs. This is great news for Downtown Duluth as it secures the growth of the west side of the downtown area which had started to become stagnant in growth. Obviously it's also wonderful news because we can all rest assured that Downtown Duluth's largest employer will remain in Duluth for many years to come.

It's been said that there are also two other companies that plan to locate their offices within the building bringing the occupation close to 100%. The two companies that will fill the remaining space, or a large portion of it, have yet to be formally announced. The two other tenants in the building will be contributing an additional $30 million towards construction (not quite sure as how much each individually is contributing). Thus the breakdown financially be $30 million by Maurices, $30 Million by the two yet to be named tenants, and $20 million from the Atwater Group. Construction is said to hopefully start in the spring of 2013 with completion set for 2015.

What else is good news? It appears that the building still is in the design process and that they are currently working out schematics. It's been common knowledge since the first announcement of this building that many Duluthians are not happy with the design of the building. They feel as if the building was designed with an 80's style in mind and wish rather for a more modern and cleaner look to be brought to the western edge of Downtown Duluth. I myself do agree with that. I know that the architect was most likely trying to design the building in a way so that is meshed with it's surroundings, but I do feel that the design is a little too saturated with design influences from two decades ago and that it really should be more modernized to signal the growth and future that Downtown Duluth is heading for. We want to progress with our image, not regress.

One thing that also has Duluthians upset is the fact that the new project was pitched as bringing 300+ new high paying jobs to Downtown Duluth. This made it sound as if the building was going to house a completely new company that was not already located within the city, or at least downtown. OR, that it would house a company that was expanding to include a new office space while retaining the current space. What many seem to forget though is the fact that Maurices already will add 100 new jobs when they move to the new building and that there is also 40% of free space left in the building. That means there is space for at least 200 more jobs which could all come with a new company or two that are new to the area. So there you go. You've got your 300 new jobs, just in a different way than imagined.

Continue to check back to our site within the coming months for updates on not only the design process of the building, but the securing of tenants. And don't forget about the 600 stall parking ramp beneath the building and "The Shops at Fifth Avenue" retail sector on the first level. There's bound to be some news with that area as well. Western Downtown Duluth will soon have a whole new image with the addition of 425W!

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