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DEDA Proposes Demolition of Old Kozy Building

DEDA Proposes Demolition of Old Kozy Building

Created: July 25, 2018 04:30 PM

The Duluth Economic Development Authority is proposing the demolition of Pastoret Terrace, also known as the Kozy Bar and Apartments, after failing to find a buyer for the fire-damaged downtown building.

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The 20,000-square-foot building at the corner of 1st Street and North 2nd Avenue East has been vacant since a 2010 fire, which was followed by a second fire the following year.  According to an environmental assessment worksheet about the potential demolition, the building is becoming an "increasing public health and safety threat and liability concern for DEDA."

The worksheet says demolition could potentially begin late this year and would take about two months.  Permits would be needed from the Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and the city.

DEDA says the site could then potentially be used for housing, commercial, parking, or mixed-use development.

DEDA has owned the building since 2016, when St. Louis County took over the property from Eric Ringsred because of delinquent taxes and sold the building to DEDA.  The worksheet says DEDA has received periodic interest from potential developers, but none has been judged to be financially viable or in conformance with the city's planned objectives for the neighborhood.

The Duluth News Tribune reported in April that Ringsred, who had purchased the building a year before the fire, filed a civil lawsuit against the city and DEDA, alleging that they had neglected the building.  However, the EAW alleges that Ringsred "neglected to make repairs necessary to the preservation of the building and failed to adequately secure it from trespass and vandalism."

The Romanesque Revival building was originally constructed as six townhomes in 1886 and has been considered a contributing resource to the Duluth Commercial Historic District.  The six townhomes were converted into dozens of apartments in the 1930's, according to a Duluth News Tribune timeline.  There were 50 single-occupancy units in the building by the time of the first fire.

The city is accepting written comments on the worksheet, which is available on the city website, through August 15.

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