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Performance Hall Rendering
Performance Hall Rendering

After years (and years) of planning, the historic Duluth Armory is set to receive a new lease on life.

Constructed over a century ago, the Duluth Armory has been over the years used as a military training facility, performance hall, offices, and artist studios. In the early 2000’s the building was in disrepair and was nearly torn down until a local non-profit called β€œThe Armory Arts & Music Center” bought the building and began working on plans to rehabilitate it into a cultural hub.

Before we get into the future plans for the building, here’s a little history lesson for you on the building’s past.

The Duluth Armory was constructed in 1915 at a time when armories were being constructed across the country. Duluth’s armory was the largest in the state at the time of construction and included the second largest drill hall in the state. The building cost nearly five times as much as other armories being constructed during the time and came in at whopping $3 million (in today’s money) over budget.

When constructed, the primary purpose of the building was to serve as a military training facility for the Minnesota National Guard and Naval Militia. However, over the last century the building has also been used as a cultural and entertainment hub for Duluth and the surrounding region. Individuals such as Harry Truman, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and even Buddy Holly appeared at the Armory. The Duluth Armory remained Duluth’s largest cultural event center until 1966 when the DECC was constructed.

Ok, let’s get back to what’s in store for the future.

Now, with a new partnership in place, plans to breathe new life into the Armory can finally come to fruition.

George Sherman and Sherman Associates will partner with The Armory Arts & Music Center to truly transform the Historic Duluth Armory into a destination for the region. The partnership will allow the building to be developed as a community hub for business start-ups and entrepreneurial development, arts and culture, and food and entertainment.

As a part of the project, the building will be rehabilitated to include community stations, a completely restored stage, a public food hall, community kitchen, artist studios along with exhibits that celebrate the history of the building.

To allow for construction to begin on the Duluth Armory project, $7.5 million is state funds is being requested to help cover design and construction costs. If state funds are secured, work on the Armory transformation could begin in early 2023 and be complete in mid-2024.

Food Hall Concept Rendering
Food Hall Concept Rendering

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Sherman Associates
LHB Corp

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