DEDA approves $135K in funding for Kozy apartment building

Updated: October 28, 2020 11:08 PM

The Duluth Economic Development Authority (DEDA) approved a $135,000 construction contract for court-mandated maintenance on the Kozy and Pastoret Terrace apartment building Wednesday night. The Duluth City Council will vote on the contract on Nov. 9.

The Kozy has been uninhabitable for a decade, as a result of a fire that took place in 2010.

It was scheduled for demolition earlier this year, but demolition is currently on hold, due to a court challenge from the building’s former owner, Eric Ringsred.

In August, a judge ordered the city perform maintenance on the building until its ultimate fate is decided.

Chris Fleege, director of DEDA, said they are unsure of exact how much the maintenance on the Kozy will cost but allocated $135,000 for the time being.

According to Fleege, the $135,000 comes from money already allocated to the building.

That money came from St. Louis County, who provided DEDA $325,000 for development purposes when they purchased the building in 2016.

So far, Fleege said they have used $80,000 of that money for abatement of asbestos and lead, as well as to clean and fence the site. That leaves them with $245,000 for further work, which the $135,000 would be deducted from.

Fleege said DEDA is doing its best to comply with court orders, while being thoughtful about taxpayer dollars.

“Our goal will be to try and spend a limited amount of funds just because of the uncertainty, but obviously, we do want to make it as water tight as we can through the winter and just make sure it’s safe, it’s not a nuisance or an attraction for people to be in the building and things like that,” Fleege said.

Fleege went on to say that the Kozy is located in a prime area – being that it both downtown and across from the Clayton, Jackson McGhie memorial.

"It's really an important area of the city that I know Mayor Larson and others want to see that developed and for it to be improved and that will be our goal to move that along as soon as we can," Fleege said.

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