Historic St. Louis County Jail Could Become Apartments

The building could be converted into 33 apartment units with a portion demolished for parking space.

DULUTH, Minn.- A Historic Downtown Duluth building that has been empty for decades and once housed some of the Northland’s toughest criminals could soon serve a new purpose.

The Historic St. Louis County Jailhouse on Second Street behind the courthouse was built back in 1923 and decommissioned in 1995. It has sat unused since.

Now it could be converted into 33 apartment units with a portion demolished for parking space.

DEDA and the Duluth City Council have approved tax increment financing to help the project.

The city is working on closing a funding gap with developer New Burnham LLC with grants, and historic and state tax credits.

Officials say the project won’t be possible without those funds but they hope they can bring new life to the building and the area.

“I’m sure you’ve driven past this building dozens of times and not really even thought about it,” said Jason Hale, Senior Housing Director for the City. β€œIt’s just kind of sitting here quietly.”

“I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to check a lot of boxes. We’re saving an historic structure, we’re increasing which we know we need, and a vacant building is always a less safe building,” he said.

If all the necessary funding is secured, construction on the historic jailhouse could begin in the late fall.

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