After sitting empty for more than eight months, the Temple Opera Building may finally have a buyer.
The Duluth Economic Development Authority will take up a resolution Wednesday that would authorize the sale of the building at 221 E. Superior St. to Titanium Partners LLC for $426,000.
DEDA emptied the structure of its tenants in August in anticipation of an imminent sale, but the Temple Opera building has lingered on the market since then. The asking price for the building has tumbled $99,000 since September.
The proceeds from the sale likely will be further eroded, as DEDA would need to plow at least some of its receipts back into the development under the proposed terms of a sales agreement in which it pledges to pay up to $70,000 to cover the cost of installing a "vapor mitigation system" in the building's basement. The arrangement could potentially reduce DEDA's total sales take to $356,000.
For its part, Titanium Partners would commit to invest at least another $400,000 to redevelop the building, which could benefit from some interior updates, said Adam Fulton, deputy director of planning and economic development.
DEDA bought the Temple Opera Building in 2010 as part of a $2.6 million deal that included the neighboring NorShor Theatre.
"We're excited, because Titanium has been a reliable partner with the city of Duluth. They've done lots of development here, and they have lots of experience working with our local contractors. They produce quality projects," Fulton said.
Titanium has been in the news lately for its efforts to erect a new 15-story apartment building in the 300 block of East Superior Street - where the Voyageur Lakewalk Inn and the former Hacienda del Sol and First Oriental Grocery now sit. That project is expected to bring 204 units of housing to downtown Duluth at an anticipated cost of more than $70 million.
Brian Forcier, president of Titanium Partners, could not be reached late Thursday afternoon, when the pending sales agreement with DEDA first became public, but Fulton said current plans call for no expansion or significant modifications to the exterior of the existing historic building. Fulton expects the building to house a mix of tenants, including offices and perhaps retail businesses on the street level.
"This is really the completion of the NorShor project," Fulton said.
Under the terms of the proposed sales agreement, Titanium would agree to grant the city an easement through the third floor of the building, connecting the NorShor Theatre to the rest of the city skywalk system via a future bridge to be built across Second Avenue East.
"We're trying to continue the revitalization of this area," Fulton said.
If the sales agreement is approved by DEDA and the Duluth City Council, Fulton said he expects the deal to close by early summer.