To increase retail space in a quickly growing neighborhood, a Duluth business purchased the Anderson Furniture building and plans to renovate it.
Reclaimed wood supplier and designer Lake Wood Designs is researching what current and future Lincoln Park residents need. For now, the building’s new owners have determined that a portion of the building will be home to its storefront as well as a large commercial space for other businesses.
Devin Garrett and Nick Christensen, business partners who run Lake Wood, said Duluth needs more business space — and the best area to add more of it is in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
“(We) want to be a large commercial marketplace … that caters to the residents and the needs of shoppers and everybody else coming to the area,” Christensen said. He added that it will drive traffic to the neighborhood.
The first two floors will house retail storefront spaces, which could include restaurants, breweries, grocers and retail stores, while the upper floors will likely hold office and work spaces for new businesses.
“Stuff like that would just check a lot of boxes for the neighborhood and fulfill probably one of the big needs in the area,” Garrett said.
There are no tenants yet, as they’re still determining exactly how to use the 36,000-square-foot space.
“We hope to see a variety of differences, but all kind of working together … to fulfill the needs of the community,” Christensen said.
The partners purchased the building because of its location in a developing neighborhood, as well as their goal to open a storefront.
Started in 2016, the Lake Wood currently works out of the Waseca Industrial Park in Duluth's Irving neighborhood.
A storefront in Lincoln Park will let customers explore its custom furniture, millwork, cabinetry, countertops and more. The space will also be home to other local artists' work.
As a wood product store that has limited advertising, Christensen said it’s crucial that customers can see and touch the items in-person.
“This will kind of cement our vision and voice and how we kind of build stuff and approach working with reclaimed wood,” Garrett said. “The big thing is everything is … (that) customers can come in and see, touch, feel versus talking about it in theory.”
This isn’t Lake Wood Design’s first project in the neighborhood. It’s done woodwork for Duluth Cider, Ursa Minor Brewing, new taproom Duluth Beer Exchange and new cocktail room Noble Pour. However, it is Garrett and Christensen’s first major development. They said they're not concerned because they don’t have to build a structure from the ground up.
“The bones of this building are very solid, so we can take (construction) floor by floor instead of the whole thing,” Garrett said. They hope to find tenants soon, so they can altar construction to fit their needs.
The building, located at 2032 W. Superior St., has an estimated market value of $397,900 and the land is estimated at $124,900, according to St. Louis County records.
The project almost certainly needs outside funding to move forward, Garrett said.
“We are not made of means," he said.
This could come from revenue from custom builds requested by future tenants, Opportunity Zone funding, grants related to opening a grocery store and more. A sizable amount of funding will likely come from new tenants, Garrett said.
Anderson Furniture will continue leasing space from the Garrett and Christensen for the next few months. It announced its closure in late August, making it one of the last in the city's former “furniture hub.” The store operated for over 100 years.
Stephanie Lafleur, president of the Lincoln Park Business Group, said the neighborhood is lucky to have a new commercial space that can support a variety of businesses.
As most businesses can’t afford space in a mall, she said, the new commercial space will make it possible for new businesses to grow by opening a store.
Tenants interested in leasing space can reach Garrett and Christensen through contact information at thelakewooddesigns.com.