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St. Louis County Depot upends tenant base; will Duluth Art Institute, historical society get kicked out?

2022-05-19 10:22:17 –

Duluth — Returning to long-ignored Minnesota law, we are accepting suggestions from companies interested in leasing depot space. Invitations that some of our current tenants are concerned about could drive them out of the historic station on Minnesota Street.

Residents of a 130-year-old building are told by a St. Louis County law firm that their current lease will expire at the end of 2022 and will be required to submit a proposal by June 14 if they wish to stay in the depot. I did. This will open the building to new nonprofits and commercial organizations that may have access to the equipment, including nearly 7,000 square feet of equipment with ready-made stages and access to loading docks. Interested groups need to fill out an application to answer usage questions and include some testimonials and rent bids.

Exactly one year contracts are available — the building is expected to have capital improvements over the next few years, which can affect the timing of access to different parts of the building.

Depot managers quote a law that the county-owned real estate space cannot be rented without advertising bids and proposals in the county’s official newspaper. This seems to be the first time the ruling has come into effect.

Mary Tennis, executive director of the depot, said she was surprised to hear about the enforcement of the law, and there was a backlash from long-time residents. She said she sees her request for proposal as one of many changes towards business improvement.

“The legislation has a great spirit,” she said. “It provides access to non-profit arts and cultural institutions that can benefit from rent reductions.”

Current tenants such as the Duluth Art Institute, Lake Superior Railroad Museum, North Shore Scenic Railroad, Minnesota Ballet, and St. Louis County Historical Society are not guaranteed spots within the building.

Duluth Playhouse announced that it will leave the depot earlier this year.

“This was like losing a family,” said Joan Combe of the St. Louis County Historical Society about losing the troupe. “Tenants are nervous. We don’t know how other for-profit and non-profit organizations mix.”

The uncertain future is a concern for the Duluth Art Institute, which has three galleries that span the upper levels of the depot. The staff needs a long lead time at the exhibition and needs to know where the gallery is when applying for a grant. Robin Washington said he did not understand the timing behind the request for proposal.

“Don’t you know why now?” He said. “What is an emergency? I don’t know. There are some state laws that haven’t been enforced and some will be reviewed and abolished. What’s in a hurry?”

The Institute of Arts Lease draws language from the same legislation referred to as the reason for requesting a new application from an arts organization.

“The county quoted the law and signed this lease with us, which means they knew or should have known what it said completely,” he said. Told.

Mr. Coomb said that historic societies have been associated with buildings for a century and have made significant financial investments in depots.

“The St. Louis County Historical Society feels that there is a great opportunity to adhere to the RFP process, keep that space within the depot facility, and perhaps get more space,” she said. “We met with the county leaders and were assured that our unique legal liability to collect and preserve the history of St. Louis County was recognized.”

The Duluth Union Depot was completed in 1892 and was registered on the National Register of Historic Places about 80 years later. In 1974, it became the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center. Tennis and current tenants have worked together to create a vision of what the building will look like in 2025. The story is a mix of people, pastries, gift shops, interactive spaces and places to relax.

Due to the depot’s unique history and access to railroad tracks, Kenbuehler, director of the Lake Superior Railroad Museum, is confident that his organization will stay on site.

“How are you going to move a 566-ton, 128-foot Yellowstone locomotive?” He said. “Where is it going?”

St. Louis County Depot upends tenant base; will Duluth Art Institute, historical society get kicked out? Source link St. Louis County Depot upends tenant base; will Duluth Art Institute, historical society get kicked out?

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