New Plans for Affordable Housing Unit Move Forward

The Garfield Square Apartments will replace the Esmond Building; formally the Seaway Hotel

DULUTH, Minn.- New details involving for new affordable housing complex in the works for the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

This 50 unit building will replace the nearby Esmond Building, formally known as the Seaway Hotel, which was known as a hot spot for police calls.  The development property is located at 10 Piedmont Avenue, where W. Superior Street and Garfield Avenue connect.

“We’re excited to be in the neighborhood” executive director of Center City Housing Rick Klun said. “There was a lot of study that went into why we picked this site.”

Center City Housing is behind the four story $13 million project.

Officials say it’s a much needed transition for people currently living blocks away in the Esmond Building.

“They’re moving from really substandard housing into brand new housing; where it will be safe, clean, affordable, and brand new,” Klun said. “The units themselves will be modest but nice and we will furnish those.”

Center City and the Housing Redevelopment Authority, which owns the Esmond Building, are going a step further with the new apartments. They’re providing 24 hour supportive services for the people who live here, who may have mental health or chemical dependency issues.

“So that they can move on, be safe and productive and have a good quality of life,” HRA executive director Jill Keppers said.

The goal of this is to get people out of the Esmond Building; but officials are proud of the million dollar plus band aid investment HRA made, to improve those unlivable conditions during the seaway days.

“Had the HRA not stepped up at that time and bought the building from the previous owner, 70 people or more would have been homeless,” Klun said.

Meanwhile as construction plans move forward for the Garfield Square Apartments, HRA officials are looking to eventually flip the Esmond Building. Turning it into retail space below, with new apartments up top.

“That building could be crucial to the evolution of Lincoln Park and how that neighborhood continues to grow as a craft district in Duluth,” Keppers said.

Construction of Garfield Square Apartments is set for this fall.

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