A historic “Furniture Row” anchor store in Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District has new owners who plan to renovate the building and add more housing and retail space to the booming neighborhood. The former Anderson Furniture building at 2032 W. Superior St. was purchased earlier this year by Ohana Holdings LLC of Duluth. St. Louis County property tax records show the company purchased the three-story, 37,000-square-foot property for $500,000.
Ohana Holdings Manager and Encompass Real Estate President Ryan Boman said plans for the property are yet to be determined but will include a complete building renovation. Boman said the project will likely include a retail, residential mix which has proven successful for other large properties in Lincoln Park.
“We obviously have some plans we’re kicking around and we’ve done some renderings on rehabbing the building,” said Boman. “The bones are very good, so it won’t be a tear down like the former Robert’s.”
The Anderson Furniture building is located across West 21st Street from the former Robert’s Home Furnishings, another longtime West End Furniture Row anchor store. Robert’s closed in 2018 and was torn down in April to make room for a new apartment building.
Boman said renovation plans could include street-level retail space with 18-20 housing units on the upper floors. An attached single-story building on the east side of the property could see an upper-floor addition.
Encompass has been involved in multiple projects throughout Duluth, including the Mount Royal Center library project about 20 years ago. The developer is updating the Mount Royal Manor apartment building and completed the District Flats, a 72-unit apartment building in the Miller Hill Mall area, in 2018.
According to a Lincoln Park historic resource inventory, the Otis Elevator Company constructed the building at 2032 W. Superior in 1910. Multiple businesses operated at the site and a furniture store was listed on the property in 1950. Anderson Furniture closed in 2019. Lake Wood Designs, a reclaimed timber supplier currently located in the building, attempted to redevelop the property as a multi-tenant business hub in 2020 before Ohana Holdings purchased the property in July.
“We’re talking to people and we’re just kind of waiting to see. You know the neighborhood has a lot going on and the neighborhood is really going to mature,” Boman said. “We’re in a position where if we need to be patient and wait for a user we will, because we’re a long term holder, it’s not a quick flip.”
Lincoln Park will see more than 100 new housing units open by this spring on two other old furniture store properties:
- The former Furniture and Mattresses 4 Less building has been renovated into the Enger Lofts at 1832 W. Superior St. The project was completed this fall and all 31 apartment units were opened and occupied in November. A retail mix will occupy the ground floor, including the Goathill Marketplace and 190 Coffee & Tea. Little Neetchers baby store opened there in October after moving from its West Duluth location. Current Lincoln Park mainstay Liila Boutique will relocate to an Enger Lofts space early in 2022 as will West Duluth’s Ren Market.
- The former Robert’s Home Furnishing site at 2102 W. Superior is being redeveloped by P & R Properties. Lincoln Park Flats will be a four-story, 74-unit apartment building set for occupancy this spring.
Another large Lincoln Park property, the former Esmond Hotel, will also see new housing. Merge Urban Development plans to tear down the blighted building and an adjacent retail store to construct Urbane218, a 45-unit apartment complex with affordable rents.
The Duluth Economic Development Authority approved $1.1 million in tax assistance for the project in July, clearing the way for the Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority to sell the hotel. Urbane 218 LLC also purchased the Boathouse Treats and Treasures store west of the hotel for $375,000, according to St. Louis County records.
Enger Lofts developer Josh MacInnes of 1LLC said workers renovated the 19th Century building and opened it to residents in about 18 months. Several retail spaces have been leased and others are awaiting lease announcements as work continues on the ground floor.
“It’s a giant remodel project with tons of surprises that popped up from a development and construction standpoint. Throw a pandemic in there and supply chain logistics and you have a recipe for a fun, fun project,” he said.
The Lincoln Park Flats apartment project is currently in the middle of construction work. P&R Properties Operations Manager Megan Holsclaw said the building has connected its heating system so workers can continue both interior and exterior projects as winter conditions dictate.
The developer will open the building to tours in January so potential residents can watch construction. “They’re a ton of fun,” Holsclaw said. “Most people that do lease, they come back every week and it’s like watching their house being built.”
Studio and one-bedroom units will rent for around $1,000 with 2-bedroom units higher. The company has leased about 20 percent of the apartments so far.
Holsclaw said the new apartment building will be in the middle of all the Lincoln Park action.
“It’s going to have great accessibility,” she said. “Lincoln Park has lots of great breweries and cider places and restaurants and shopping. The new bike path — nothing like that has been in Lincoln Park before. New construction is always fun and Duluth just needs new housing.”
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