The first step of rehabbing Duluth’s Armory Arts and Music Center got underway Wednesday as crews started stabilizing the drill hall floor.
“I’m actually very excited about renovating a historic facility,” said Bob Gardner, Gardener Builders president.
The work being done right now will cost $1.5 million. It’s the first step because it has to be done to lift the demolition order placed on the building 18 years ago.
“Once we get the floor fixed all sorts of opportunities open up for us,” said Mark Poirier, executive director of Armory Arts and Music Center.
After another $20 million to $30 million of work, it will be a space everyone can enjoy.
“Our long-term vision right now is a public market food hall where we bring in local vendors and local food and just a place in the community where people can gather and just celebrate the things that are unique to the area,” said Poirier.
Gardner said working with a building this historic can be tough.
“There are certain challenges for sure. And really it’s knowing what needs to be maintained and working with the consultants to make sure that we’re not doing anything in the course of construction that could jeopardize that process,” he said.
But with a building that holds so much history…
“So many events from the great fire Cloquet Moose lake fire of 1918 through Albert Woolson the last civil war veterans whose funeral service was here to the inspiration of Bob Dylan by Buddy Holly,” said Poirier.
The hard work will be worth it in the end.
“We’re excited to be a part of a phenomenal team. [We’re] excited for the city of Duluth, and the future that this place holds with the history, and them making new history,” said Gardner.