Kozy Building Passing 11th Hour For Restoration

Management Hopeful To Get $7 Million In State Tax Credits

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It’s been nearly five years since the troubled Kozy building went up in flames in Duluth. And today, it remains arguably the biggest eyesore in downtown Duluth.

But a businessman behind the restoration plans tells FOX 21’s Dan Hanger he’s got one more solid shot at millions in housing tax credits to turn the property around before the weather takes its final beating on the building or the city of Duluth heads in for demolition.

“There’s a little bit of displacement in the arch and we’re seeing that in a few areas. That wasn’t there last year, so that tells us the clock is running,” said Mike Conlan, former Duluth director of planning and development, and current business partner with Eric Ringsred who owns the building.

“The seriousness is if we’re not successful this year, we’re probably going to throw in the towel and say, ok, we’ve been trying this for three years,” Conlan said.

But Conlan believes his recent application for $7 million in state Housing Tax Credits seems promising this time around after being denied last year.

“The engineering study is done. The architectural work is done. Appraisals have been done. Market studies — all of that. It’s a complete package,” Conlan said.

In the meantime, while Mayor Don Ness wants to see the historic building finally restored, he also says the demolition process by the city is very real and only the fault of the property owner.

“There should have been investment made years ago. First of all, the building should have been insured so when it went up in flames, they would have had the dollars to reinvest and fix the building, but it wasn’t insured,” Ness explained.

While Conlan doesn’t own the building, he remains hopeful the state will pull through with the $7 million in tax credits before the clock strikes midnight.

“It’s all in before the state. And again, they tell us it’s a competitive proposal, they like it, but of course it’s statewide competition,” Conlan said.

“They need to step up in a major way if this building is going to be saved,” Ness said.

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