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Duluth’s Old Central School getting new life thanks to state tax credit

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DULUTH, MN -- New mixed-income housing will soon be coming to downtown Duluth.

"First residents will be set to move in Spring of 2023," said Mark Laverty, the Director of Development for Saturday Properties in the Twin Cities.

He said building more than 100 apartment units in Duluth's Historic Old Central School is exactly what the city needs.

That's why his company signed a purchase agreement to buy the building from the Duluth School District in 2020.

"This project is going to be bringing about 120 apartments to the downtown area. A lot of the new projects have been done by the university or up on the north part of town. We wanted to do it here so we can help the surrounding business," said Laverty.

Laverty said a state tax credit aimed at helping developers improve historic buildings helped fund this massive project.

"The state historic tax credits are extremely essential to this project, and without them this redevelopment wouldn't be occurring," said Laverty.

Heidi Swank, the Executive Director of Rethos Places Reimagined, said that state tax credit is set to expire this summer, which could hurt future projects.

"It's generated in excess of 18,000 jobs, about $3.5 billion of economic impact, and has touched about 97% of business and industries in the state of Minnesota," said Swank.

Laverty and Swank are asking state lawmakers to vote to extend the tax credit beyond their deadline.

Swank said to help maintain these historic places in the future, she is asking people to reach out to their Representative to make sure projects like the one at Historic Old Central can continue.

"This transition when redoing and rethinking them is exactly what historic preservation is trying to do for housing here in Minnesota and across the United States," said Swank.

For the latest on this project, there is a meeting Wednesday, April 14 from 5 p.m to 6:30 p.m. It's a virtual meeting.

Click here for the link to the meeting.

Meteorologist Alex Libby

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