Old Central High School To Become Apartment Complex With Historical Elements

DULUTH, Minn. — The Historic Old Central High School of Duluth is under restoration and the once classrooms will become into 122 apartment units.

The building was originally built in the 1890’s and has since undergone multiple renovations.

Now for the first time, it will be an apartment complex — and so much more.

“It is being completely gutted, but we are still of course preserving a lot of the historical aspects of the building where we can. Certainly with it being a historical preservation project, the state historical preservation office has a say in what can be changed and what can’t,” said Director of Operations for Kraus-Anderson Construction, Dan Markharm.

The old central lockers are not going anywhere, they’ll sit untouched in the apartment hallways.

As for the gymnasium’s original hardwood flooring, that too will remain in tact.

All of the names signed by Central High students inside of the clocktower, will not be erased, but rather maintained for years to come.

“In early 2020, when the district decided to put this up for sale, we saw it as an opportunity to be apart of preserving not only one of the most historic buildings in Duluth, but the state,” said Chief Development Officer for Saturday Properties, Mark Laverty.

Saturday Properties is the project manager and developer, and Kraus-Anderson Construction is in charge of bringing the place to life — by hitting the nail on the head, literally.

Both parties agree, Duluth needs housing and this complex will offer mixed-income units.

“Duluth has a need for housing, especially in the downtown area. This type of conversion of old historic buildings into housing has been going on in cities throughout the Midwest and certainly throughout the country,” said Markharm.

It’s not a cheap task to take on — nearly $50 million is being forked out for the project.

Funding comes from historic tax credits at the federal and state level, the city of Duluth tax income and financing, and HUD mortgage loans.

“This project will help more development happen in the area, but there’s issues still where we have rising construction costs, interest rate environment that aren’t just affecting Duluth, but everywhere in the country. So there is still a concern of how are we going to address the housing needs with those impacts going on,” Laverty stated.

Project coordinators say that working with these historic buildings takes such large investments to keep them safe and secure.

As for the apartment complex, it’s expected to be move in ready by December of 2023.

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