ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Look on the bright side: Downtown Duluth has prime site available

On the heels of Duluth Mayor Gary Doty's State of the City address, it is only fitting to further discuss last week's corporate decision that took many by surprise.

We are part of The Trust Project.

On the heels of Duluth Mayor Gary Doty's State of the City address, it is only fitting to further discuss last week's corporate decision that took many by surprise.
As part of a corporate downsizing, downtown Duluth's Office Depot is going through liquidation sales as it prepares to close its doors in eight to 12 weeks.
The mayor hit the nail on the head last week when asked about the closing of the new store. Quoted in the Duluth Budgeteer News, he expressed his disappointment saying, "It's unfortunate that the local store got caught up in that corporate hatchet job. There's really nothing we can do about it."
A corporate decision by Office Depot should not be taken as a negative reflection on downtown Duluth or the community as a whole. The company closed 70 stores across the United States and Canada, affecting even major market cities such as Boston and Phoenix. Initially, this corporation poured a tremendous amount of money into building its Holiday Center location, $1.3 million to be exact.
Its local and regional leaders were pleased as they discussed the homework that was compiled to back up the decision for a downtown location. After all, the largest concentration of their potential customers would be in the heart of the city. But after just six months, they are pulling the plug on a brand new store that hasn't had the chance to mature. Ironically, the other Minnesota store to close is in Maplewood, which also celebrated a grand opening last year, just one or two months prior to the store in Duluth.
While the move is disappointing, it allows us to look to the other side of the coin, one that is better polished. Such an investment by Office Depot leaves the Holiday Center with quite an attractive space. There are 26,000 square feet of newly remodeled storefront property for the next potential business. This is a prime piece of real estate in a downtown district that enjoys a diverse mix of business from the professional and governmental to the retail and hospitality sectors.
Add to that the fact that an estimated 18,000 people come to work daily in the downtown core, and another 3 million visitors converge on the community annually, allowing a retailer a strong potential customer base. We are fortunate to have a bustling waterfront setting, extensive skywalk system links and a positive business climate. All of these factors will be put into play as work begins on recruitment efforts.
It's unfortunate that Office Depot made such a decision, but this isn't the first, nor will it be the last to have an impact on our community.

What To Read Next
The system crashed earlier this month, grounding flights across the U.S.