First Street Bottle Shop Closing, New Development Taking Over Block

Housing, Parking, Office Space Planned

DULUTH, Minn. – FOX 21’s Dan Hanger learned exclusively Wednesday that the Lake Superior Bottle Shop at 31 E First Street has been sold, as well as the building, and will close for good May 31st. This, as a new development is in the works for the entire block between Lake Avenue and East First Avenue.

The city of Duluth, H & G Development and “1st and 1st Properties” are working together to develop market-rate housing, a parking ramp for hundreds of vehicles and upgrade the existing Lake and First Street office building, according Brad Johnson, with Lotus Real Estate, who is handling the working for the investors.

Meanwhile, interestingly enough, the city of Duluth is actively searching for a developer on the adjacent block of East First Street, which extends to East Second Street and is home to the vacant Kozy building.

You’ll recall, the city wants the old Kozy property — and potentially the whole block — to become a mixed-use development with more housing as a top priority, Hanger reported.

Mayor Emily Larson has said the goal is to also continue to connect East First Street to the Historic Arts and Theatre District (HART) one block below on East Superior Street.

In February, the city announced it had denied three development proposals for the old Kozy property because those proposals did not fit the city’s long-term vision for East First Street.

Meanwhile, with a developer now taking ownership down the block at First Street and First Avenue, the city now has some momentum to work with while marketing the Kozy property to potential developers, Hanger reported.

The Bottle Shop has been in its current location on the corner of East First and First Avenue since 1988.  As of most recent memory, the location has been known for frequent police calls, safety concerns and even violent crimes.  In January of 2017, a man was shot inside the liquor store. The shooter is now serving time for the crime behind bars.