What is the future of Ordean Plaza?

A recent Duluth News Tribune story about plans to convert the top five floors of the Ordean Building into rental housing included a brief mention of the city selling the small park next to it.

This particular little postage stamp of parkland is called Ordean Plaza, a public square across from the Duluth Public Library. It’s part of the larger Fifth Avenue Mall, a late-1960s and early-1970s effort to beautify Fifth Avenue West.

According to the purchase agreement Titanium Partners, operating as 424W, LLC, would buy the land for $29,500.

The sale makes sense to me — it’s a square of land that could make the redevelopment of the Ordean Building into apartments more attractive. The price seems low, but I’m not sure what price one could or should ask for land which is, in its present state, a public space. It’s primary value is as public space, not as developed, so we are mostly asking, “what is the loss of this public space worth”?

Still, the precedent here might be troubling, I suppose.

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