Pastoret Terrace burns again

The vacant Pastoret Terrace building at 129 E. First St., condemned since a 2010 fire, once again was ablaze on Sunday.

CBS 3: Questions arise surrounding the future of Kozy building following Sunday fire
Duluth News Tribune: Duluth’s Kozy Bar building burns again
Star Tribune: Fire again strikes historic Kozy Bar in downtown Duluth
WDIO: Former owner reacts to latest fire at Kozy apartment building
Fox 21: Former Kozy Owner: Sunday’s fire won’t stop fight with city to avoid demolition

7 Comments

Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman)

about 11 months ago

Not just a years-long eyesore but a repeat public safety menace.

vicarious

about 11 months ago

But, “historic,” Jim! Thus, deserving of “saving”! Because the past is golden ...

Jim Richardson (aka Lake Superior Aquaman)

about 11 months ago

Give me a sledgehammer, I'll do it myself

Matthijs

about 11 months ago

While the current state of the building is clearly undesirable and finding a way to preserve it in some form presents undeniable challenges, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Duluth Commercial Historic District, being one of the earliest buildings designed by one of Duluth’s most prominent architects. 

As the building has stood for the last 133 years at the same intersection where people in Duluth lynched Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson and Elias Clayton, its continuous existence across from the memorial site provides a direct point of connection between that shameful period of Duluth’s past and the present.

Jacob Jacobson

about 11 months ago

This building has been disastrous for decades. If folks want it saved for historical reasons, then those same people need to find the dough to do so. Otherwise, it's a big circle jerk with preservationists having their cake and eating it too. Meanwhile neighbors must fear that the damn place will burn and burn down adjoining structures. Grow up, people. It is only a crappy decrepit hulk, worthy of the wrecking ball.

vicarious

about 11 months ago

As the building has stood for the last 133 years at the same intersection where people in Duluth lynched Isaac McGhie, Elmer Jackson and Elias Clayton, its continuous existence across from the memorial site provides a direct point of connection between that shameful period of Duluth’s past and the present.
Inanimate objects, such as buildings or their constituent parts, are not sentient or conscious, thus have no correlation to, much less awareness or memory of, human occurrences or historical events.

Matthijs

about 11 months ago

I understand that the Pastoret Terrace complex has been uninhabitable for the past 10 years and its current state comes with a lot of negative consequences for the community. Not only is it a damaged building that needed work even before the fire. It remains a fire hazard. People who are in need of shelter or a place to use drugs sometimes go into the building, and because it is not a safe place to find shelter or use drugs, that puts both those people and the surrounding community in danger.

When I share my opinion here, I share it as someone who does not live near the Pastoret Terrace and therefore does not experience any of the very real and negative consequences that come with living near a blighted structure.

When I read that people in the community are tired of having a blighted structure in the middle of downtown and frustrated by having reasonable redevelopment proposals blocked, I do not find that frustration unreasonable.  

I did not add my comment because I hoped to convince anyone that the building should be restored. I understand there are differing opinions -- both in public opinion and legally -- on whether the structure is sound and whether all options for restoring it have been reasonably considered. I don’t have any particular insights to offer on that debate. 

The purpose of my comment was to note two ways in which the building still has potential value. I think everyone generally agrees that the decision to tear down a historic building involves weighing  the feasibility and cost of restoration against the value that the building has for the community. The community value does not have to be zero to choose to demolish a structure. You can acknowledge some elements of value and still justifiably demolish a building.

In the case of Pastoret Terrace, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Duluth Commercial Historic District, the building helps preserve the structural integrity of that district. A downtown area with properly preserved and maintained historic buildings is attractive to businesses, residents and tourists. The building in its current state is not attractive to businesses, residents, and tourists, but a restored building would bear little resemblance to its current state. Given that a new building is unlikely to be designed by an architect of the same prominence, a restored building would have greater long-term economic value for the downtown area than a new building.

The second is that the building sits across from a memorial site that asks its visitors to reflect on what  happened on that site 100 years ago. The day of that tragedy is outside the living memory of anyone who visits the site. Some people may be able to better understand the reality of what happened at the site if the surroundings contain some of the same elements from when it happened. The Pastoret Terrace, in a restored form, would be one of those elements. The current blighted form of the building undoubtedly detracts from the experience of most visiting the site. 

If the building is ultimately torn down, which seems likely, I will feel a sense of relief that a long running conflict is over and that the people who live and work around a blighted property will no longer have to deal with the daily stress and very real risks that comes from that. I will also feel sad that Duluth has lost another historic structure that may have stood for another 130 years if some different decisions had been made over the past 10. I will also likely regret that this comment response was the only action I took toward involvement. It’s a bit late and, as Jacob noted, a large financial contribution would have been much more helpful.

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