Home > New Purchase Could Move Armory Renovations Forward
New Purchase Could Move Armory Renovations Forward
FOX 21 News, KQDS-DT
Thursday, May 17, 2012 - 5:26pm
DULUTH - The nearly 100–year–old Armory has sat vacant for more than a decade.
But now, the Armory has control of the entire block and the extra space could get long–awaited renovations underway.
"It's a great community project, it's a great piece of history, it makes Duluth unique," Mark Poirier from the Armory Arts and Music Center said.
The restoration for the Armory has been inching by since it was saved from demolition eight years ago.
"We've been working very hard especially in the last few months," Poirier said.
The place, known for concerts that influenced people like Bob Dylan, is still under its old demolition order.
However, it did receive historical status last year; a move that could help the Armory keep future plans alive.
"The Armory just epitomizes to me the center of a lot and interest and activity and music history in this country and so it's very important to save this place," Nelson French from the Armory Arts and Music Center said.
For the past six months, the front part of the building has been up for lease and some interested businesses have stopped by.
Now, the Armory's purchase of the old Perkins building next door gives them an opportunity to fix a major roadblock in leasing.
"One of the first questions they asked is 'where can we park?'" Poirier said.
Now that the Armory has the extra space to add more parking, they hope it will make it more attractive for businesses that would want move in.
"We think it's very important," Poirier said. "Without this property next door and the ability to have parking on that property, the project really would flounder."
The $805,000 purchase was made possible through a private donation.
The move could finally bring in tenants; upping the tempo on renovations and turning the stage into inspiration of the next generation of musicians.
"We're waiting for the day that the Armory can re–open and we can enjoy that energy that comes from a real live armory-style show," Nelson said.