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Timeline for Essentia's Vision Northland project pushed back 1 year, cost increases

The expanded timeline caused the project's price tag to increase.

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The Essentia Vision Northland project as seen from Fourth Avenue East in Duluth Wednesday morning. The project is going to take a year longer than originally planned. (Clint Austin/ caustin@duluthnews.com)
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The ongoing construction on Essentia Health's Vision Northland project will last a year longer than expected.

During its first year, the project expanded to 942,000 square feet of total construction. It's now slated to open in the third quarter of 2023. The expansion includes an additional patient floor and outpatient care spaces, Essentia confirmed in a statement.

"This was a carefully thought-out expansion," the statement said. It improves the hospital's flexibility and prepares it to meet community needs.

Along with the expanded timeline comes an increased cost. The project's price tag increased by $100 million to $900 million over the last year. Changes in market conditions also caused the project's financing to increase.

September marks the one-year construction anniversary for Vision Northland, a project to construct a new St. Mary's Medical Center and clinic. It's the largest private investment in Duluth's history.

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In the coming months, steel trusses will be installed over First Street and the concrete foundation will be finished.

When finished, the clinic will stand eight stories tall, while the hospital tower will stretch 15 stories, making it Duluth's tallest building and transforming the city's skyline.

This story originally contained a misstatement of the size of new construction added to the project. It was updated at 8:15 a.m. Sept. 17 with the correct information. The News Tribune regrets the error.

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