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Don Ness Posts

More NorShor Details

I was going to post this as a response in a previous thread, but made it a post instead…

There are questions about the sale price.  Legitimate questions, $2.6 million is a lot of money.  Between the three buildings, there is a lot of value.  This is both a fair price and makes economic sense for the city.  I’ll share our value assessment with you.

First, we have examined the sq ft comps in the neighborhood.  There is 40k sq ft of commercial / office space in the Temple and Annex space.  The average per sq ft cost for sale in old downtown is $37.75 based on building sales of Coney Island Bldg and Gardner Hotel (and other area building sales).  I think we could make a strong case that the Temple is a much more valuable property than those, but using this standard, the value of the commercial and office space would be $1.5 million.

NorShor and Temple Opera Block

On Saturday Eric Ringsred signed a purchase agreement to sell the Temple Opera Building, NorShor Theatre, and NorShor Annex to DEDA for $2.6 million.  The sale is contingent on approval by DEDA and the Council.  It’s my intent to make the NorShor the crown jewel of the downtown, to make it the center of a regional arts and entertainment district.

There is a lot of discussion on this, let me fill in with a few thoughts:

Tweedy with ‘teenaged boy who claims he’s the mayor’

Thanks PDD for the help with the proclamation.  Wilco was very gracious about it and accepted it in good humor.  I half expected that it would be handed off to a roadie for disposal.  Not only did Jeff take it on stage, it then played a prominent role in the show.  That was amazing.  I’m also glad everyone got a good laugh at my expense – it’ll take me a while to live that one down.  Fortunately, I have a pretty good start on grey hairs and a beer belly – and with the stress of the job, I’ll have that ‘teenaged boy’ label taken care of in no time.

Draft Proclamation – Suggestions?

The following is my first draft of the Wilco proclamation.  I found it harder to write than I thought it would be.  So your thoughts and suggestions would be helpful….  Move quickly, I need to finish this up by 4 p.m. today.

Whereas, most Duluth bands have many of the following characteristics:

1) At least one band member looks like a musician-sized lumberjack

Wilco (the city) = Duluth

Wilco’s fog show in Duluth was the equivalent of two young lovers waiting out a downpour in a phone booth (if the weather wasn’t so bad we’d still just be holding hands).

I loved that show – the fog, the ore boat, the Brewhouse beer, the unseasonable cold, and a band who seemed to thrive in the elements.   It was perfect because it was such an authentic Duluth experience and Wilco seemed to appreciate it every bit as much as we did.

It seems to me there something special going on between Wilco and Duluth, a sense of connection between band and city.  Duluthians recognize and appreciate the authenticity, the talent, the lack of pretense – it’s all those qualities that we see and expect from our local rock stars (Al, Mimi, Charlie, Turtles, Jerree, Tony B, etc).

So, here’s the deal, since there is nothing in the Charter that strictly prohibits me from doing so, I’m going to officially proclaim Wilco as an honorary Duluth band.  I need your help to define exactly what that means…

1)  We need to come up with some sort of “official trinket” that represents their honorary Duluth band status

2) We need to present the ground rules for being a Duluth band – with power comes responsibility

3) What are the special perks to being a Duluth band in good standing?

Obviously, they would now be eligible to play Homegrown (we’ll have to remind them that registration closes at the end of February).

Thanks for your help.

Gigabyte broadband from Google – in Duluth?

Here’s a press release we’ll be sending out about our intent to explore Google’s offer to bring gigabyte speed broadband to an entire community.  There are many unanswered questions and any application may be a long shot, but it would be a game-changer for Duluth.  I think it’s worth putting our best foot forward and see what happens…  If you want to help out, check the bottom of the post.  See you around…  Don

Mayor Don Ness has indicated the City of Duluth‘s intent to pursue a partnership with Google to bring fiber-to-home connections to city residents.  Google plans to select a community to test ultra-high speed connections at more than a gigabit per second later this year through a competitive process.

The following is a statement from Mayor Ness on the city’s intent:

We want Duluth, Minnesota to be at the forefront of a new gigaband revolution in America.  For America to be competitive into the future, we need to be aggressive at investing in our data infrastructure.  To unfairly paraphrase Tip O’Neill “All bandwidth use is local” – Google’s community initiative will be a powerful tool to demonstrate the positive impact of local broadband improvements.

Your chance to say thank you

Another great Homegrown Music Festival – it’s absolutely amazing to see the talent that we have in town.

Homegrown would not be possible without the efforts of a lot of people working throughout the year, behind the scenes, to make it happen.  Paul Connolly, who has been festival director over the past two years has done a great job.  Paul Lundgren, Adam Guggemos, and all of the volunteers who contributed deserve our thanks.  And of course happy birthday and thanks to Starfire for giving life to the festival.  Remember to frequent the venues who support original live music throughout the year.

If you had a good time this week, take a moment to write a note of thanks for those who made it possible.