Dick Palmer: Our lake view is getting clearer
Duluth's Lake Superior view is getting clearer, with some options on the table well beyond the exploration phase. In fact, downtown Duluth could well acquire a whole new look featuring diverse business opportunities, year-round living comfort and...
Duluth's Lake Superior view is getting clearer, with some options on the table well beyond the exploration phase. In fact, downtown Duluth could well acquire a whole new look featuring diverse business opportunities, year-round living comfort and the view of the lake from selected downtown locations. It could generate an utopia of opportunity and ongoing challenge.
Dream on, some are saying? Could be, but the fog of despair is lifting near our harbor, and entrepreneurs with courage and foresight are already breaking new ground.
The idea of renovating old buildings in the once busy downtown business community is not a new one. That idea has popped up from time to time in the past, but now words have changed to action, making things happen, namely gutting and renovating the upper levels of a few old buildings at Lake Avenue and Superior Street.
The results could start an infusion of residential and specialty growth in our core city. And with that, a new, diverse business development opportunity is in the making.
Bruce von Riedel and partner Jim Jarocki are in the process of renovating the upper level floors of an 1880-era building at Lake Avenue and Superior Street. The remodeled living quarters could sell for $500,000 or so, it was reported.
That's impressive, but its time to get real here. The concept is feasible, shocking as it may appear. Across the street, just east of Lake Avenue, the Electric Fetus is in the process of completing a major renovation of the upstairs of its building, changing an existing vaudeville ballroom into commercial development. What does all this mean?
Throughout the country today, hundreds of formerly viable downtown business districts have shriveled up and died on the vine as peripheral shopping malls took the business growth away from the core shopping areas.
It almost happened in Duluth, but a streetscape program preceded by the Arena-Auditorium completely stopped the decay in its tracks, a skywalk system was developed and a steady, viable business and professional program remained in place. Downtown hotel/motel business has flourished, and South First Avenue East opened up a new tourism adventure complemented by the Aerial Bridge, the Rose Garden and other amenities.
Now a new chapter in the stability of our city is in the making.
The renovation of the upper levels of many buildings on Superior Street seems quite exciting. Imagine connecting the Skywalk System to first-class housing units. Think of the opportunities for entrepreneurs to generate goods and services opportunities that would make life just a little more exciting, especially for senior citizens who could travel the entire business area in heated or air conditioned comfort and have his or her groceries delivered right to their door.
There has been talk of connecting the skywalk system between downtown and the Duluth Clinic at 5th Avenue East. The possibilities are impressive indeed.
I have always been a Duluth fan, perhaps because I was born here, educated here and had the opportunity to work in this city for an entire life cycle. It has been a good ride, even though the potholes were frequent and oftentimes hinder positive growth initiatives. Renovating old buildings in downtown Duluth? What a refreshing idea!
Dick Palmer is the former editor and publisher of the Budgeteer News. He may be reached by telephone at 729-6470 or by e-mail at email@example.com .