$800 Million Essentia Health Expansion to Begin This Fall

New renderings and details about the 340 foot tall facility are now available

DULUTH, Minn. – Essentia Health’s new $800 million health care facility in Downtown Duluth is closer to breaking ground this fall with demolition beginning as early as September.

During the construction of the 340-foot-tall facility, both East First Street and Fourth Avenue East will be closed for nearly two years.

New Renderings show details of what’s being called the “Vision Northland” project.

It includes an eighteen-story hospital tower that will replace the current St. Mary’s Hospital.

The new building is designed to preserve views of Lake Superior from the Central Hillside neighborhood, give patients lake views, and use special material to cut down on the impact of birds hitting the glass tower.

Essentia officials say the project will help them provide even better care.

“It’s really us investing in our future in our facilities, really state of the art facilities that match the state of the art care that we provide, so updating our facilities with new technology, new spaces, a better patient and staff experience,” said Mark Hayward, Senior Vice President of Essentia Health.

Before it becomes a reality, the city has to approve rezoning permits, and permits allowing part of the building to be built over First Street.

The Planning Commission will talk about it next week and the City Council is expected to discuss it in June.

City staff view the Essentia project an the nearby St. Luke’s expansion as part of a larger goal to expand what the city’s “Medical District” can be.

“We recognize this is an area where there is much possibility for reinvestment and as that begins to be better understood, our hope would be that we would create new opportunities for commerce, new opportunities for housing and things of that nature,” said Adam Fulton of the city’s Planning and Economic Development Department.

The city has requested $184 million from the state that would help with parking, street improvements, and other infrastructure needs to complement the Essentia and St. Luke’s expansions.

Essentia staff hope to move into their new facility in the fall of 2022.

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