Duluth, Minnesota – Historic Old Central High School in Duluth is undergoing restoration and will once have classrooms in 122 condominiums.
The building was originally built in the 1890s and has since undergone multiple renovations.
Now for the first time, it will be an apartment complex – and so much more.
“It has been completely destroyed, but of course we still preserve as much of the historic aspects of the building as we can. Certainly with it being a historic preservation project, the Office of State Historic Preservation has a say,” said Dan Marcharm, COO of Kraus-Anderson Construction. What can be changed and what cannot be changed.
The old central cabinets will not go anywhere, and you will not touch them in the corridors of the apartment.
As for the original wooden floors for the gym, it will remain so.
All the names signed by the Central High School students inside the clock tower will not be erased, but rather will be preserved for years to come.
“In early 2020, when the area decided to put it up for sale, we saw it as an opportunity to be apart of preserving not only one of the most historic buildings in Duluth, but also the state,” said Saturday Properties’ chief development officer. Mark Lafferty.
Saturday Properties is the project manager and developer, and Kraus-Anderson Construction is responsible for bringing the place to life—by hitting the nail in the head, literally.
The parties agree that Duluth needs housing and this complex will offer mixed-income units.
Duluth is in need of housing, especially in the downtown area. This kind of conversion of old historic buildings into residences has been happening in cities across the Midwest and certainly across the country,” Marcharm said.
It’s not a cheap job to do – almost $50 million has been spent on the project.
Funding comes from historic federal and state tax credits, Duluth city tax income and financing, and HUD mortgages.
This project will help further development in the area, but there are still issues as we have rising construction costs and an interest rate environment that affects not only Duluth, but everywhere in the country. So there is still concern about how we will deal with housing needs as these effects persist.
Project coordinators say that working with these historic buildings requires significant investment to keep them safe and secure.
As for the residential complex, it is expected to be ready by December 2023.