Vacant Middle School May Transform into Affordable Housing

The potential affordable housing is intended to help workforce families.

CLOQUET, Minn.- Affordable housing is a hot topic in the Northland, now an old Middle School building that sat vacant for one school year may turn into apartment units and office space.

The developers we spoke with say it’s a workforce housing project intended to help working families find affordable housing.  As for the middle school the development plans would keep the gymnasium and theatre but demolish the pool hall to create parking. Overall the development is expected to cost 14 million dollars. The proposal is 57 unit apartments and ten thousand square feet of office spaces. Apartments will range from one to three bedrooms. The single bedrooms are estimated to cost around $572.

Developers tell us the occupancy level in Cloquet is just below 100% which is why they feel the project is crucial.

“So there’s no new supply in the city to help drive rents down so this project will provide a much-needed housing option for local working families,” Vice President of Development Paul Keenan said.

Earlier this summer the building suffered from vandalism. Glass and remains from the damage are spread across the gymnasium. The Middle School has been vacant for nearly three years, meanwhile, developers tell us its common in vacant buildings which is another reason they’re hoping the project will pass soon.

The complex still has hurdles to jump such as approvals from the city for a zoning change and historic approvals from the state. They’re hoping to receive both of those within the next 30 days and begin mid-August.

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