New partnership, plans announced in $25M renovation to historic Duluth Armory |

New partnership, plans announced in $25M renovation to historic Duluth Armory

Mariam Mackar
Updated: December 21, 2021 01:49 PM
Created: December 20, 2021 09:52 PM

A place once filled with sound  from some of the greatest artists in music has been quiet for decades.  Now, the city of Duluth has new plans for the historic Armory Arts and Music Center.

The Armory has a rich history within its walls, one that the city and advocates have worked hard to preserve. After 20 years of demolition being threatened, the building has new hopes of a bright future to match its past.

Listed on the National Record of Historic Places in 2011, the Armory was built in 1915 for the Naval Militia and National Guard, also serving as a central gathering place for the community. 

On Monday, board members at the Armory announcing a new partnership with Sherman Associates that is allowing advocates to create a bold new renovation plan for the center.

"While the Armory project is about honoring the past, it's also so much about the future," said Mark Poirier, Executive Director of the Armory Arts & Music Center. 

"Under the partnership agreement, the building will be developed as an important community space that allows for business start ups and entrepreneurial development, arts and culture, food and entertainment. The Armory will be a vibrant mixed use facility with a restored stage and exhibit spaces celebrating both the cultural and military significance of the building."

The renovations include the creation of a public marketplace with small businesses and food vendors - the lower level set to contain a large-scale community kitchen for entrepreneurs to use.

Also in the plan is the creation of the North Country Creative Center and the Music Resource Center; an exhibit space to celebrate those who once performed at the Armory and and an after-school music program for area youth, respectively.

The $25 million project is estimated to take around a year and a half to complete once in motion. Renovation planners are looking to get $7.5 million of funding from the state.

If on schedule, the Armory should open its new doors in May of 2024.


Mariam Mackar

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