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DULUTH - Duluth celebrated an economic milestone Friday, officially announcing Maurice’s and its parent company Ascena as the anchor tenants for the soon-to-be Duluth corporate tower.
It is the biggest downtown development in Duluth’s history.
"What a perfect Duluth day and an exciting day in the history of our community," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.
More than 250 Northlanders welcomed one of the fastest growing retailers into a new Duluth corporate tower.
"Shhhh, it's Maurice's," whispered Ness.
Maurice’s is moving its current corporate headquarters into the 15-story tower because the business has grown and they need more space.
After exploring their options, officials say the soon-to-be tower is a perfect fit.
"We want to stay in Downtown Duluth,” said Maurice’s President George Goldfarb. “It's where we were founded, it’s where we were born and a place our incredible workforce known as home."
The project comes at a critical time.
"Last month, more than 3,150 Duluth residents were out of work," Lt. Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon (DFL) Minnesota said.
This private public partnership between Maurice’s, the city and AtWater will create 200 construction jobs.
"It means for us we can put more and more of our people to work in Duluth instead of traveling," Iron Works Local Union Business Representative Darrell Godbout said.
200 professional jobs will also be created.
"For all 5 brands, 4,000 stores across north America will be done here, right here,” said Goldfarb. "These are great paying jobs."
For now, the 300,000 sqare-foot building will be used as a corporate office.
Maurice’s says they may use some space for retail.
Maurice's will occupy 70% of the space.
Officials say there's a possibility another business could set up shop there.
Future plans for Maurice's current corporate office have yet to be determined.
"I know that there are businesses in conversation with city hall," said (DFL) Duluth Senator Roger Reinert.
But one thing is for sure:
"Duluth is open for business," said Prettner Solon.
"Congratulations to everybody, congratulations to you, congratulations to the city of Duluth," said Ness.
The ground breaking for the project will be Fall 2012 or Spring 2013.
Maurice's will officially open up there in 2015.