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Former Central High School site officially has a buyer

The former Central High School officially has a buyer the Duluth News Tribune recently broke news of. The entire 77 acre site was purchased by a single buyer and there are already plans for development. So who bought the property?

Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors to the tune of $10 million dollars.

This is the second project for Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors (we're just going to call them Harbor Bay from now own). Now, if you're thinking to yourself that this name sounds familiar but you just can't peg it for some reason, well, you're right. Harbor Bay is also the company behind the 148 apartment unit project planned for 2100 London Road.

Who is Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors?

So who is Harbor Bay and why are you just beginning to hear about them? Well, they're a new team to the playing field but while the team may be new the players themselves are seasoned vets.

Mark J. Bell

Tom Lund

The company offers services in three sectors; advising and consulting, investments, and development. This basically means they're a one stop shop.

Mark J. Bell and Tom Lund are the two behind Harbor Bay. Both individuals have quite an extensive background when it comes to development as both have worked for OPUS Group in the past. If you're unfamiliar with OPUS all you need to really know is that they are one of the top players when it comes to development. The company has completed projects all across the United States and quite a number of them are within Minneapolis itself.

Just to give you a figure of success for these two individuals, Tom and Mark combined have been part of developing over $1.5 BILLION in projects. Yeah, we think they know what they're doing.

So now that you know their success, let's talk about how they are impacting Duluth.

Above: 2100 London Road is another project that Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors is behind within the Duluth area

Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors recently signed a purchase agreement for 800 East Central Entrance making it the second project for the company in the Duluth area (also 2100 London Road). The company purchased the site for $10 million which is about $3.7 million less than the originally asking price a number of years ago. Now it's time for them to redevelop it.

Now that they own it, what do they plan to do with it?


Detailed plans have yet to be made public and it is likely that it still will be many months before we begin to see renderings and site plans for the site. However, what we do know is that housing is in the works and lots of it.

"Versatile" housing options are being explored for the site meaning we won't just see one type housing constructed. Harbor Bay is responsible for a few apartment style projects and multifamily residential projects in the midwest. They also were the consultants for Latitude 45, a 13 story, 319 apartment unit project currently being constructed in Downtown Minneapolis.

Above: Latitude 45 or L45 being developed in Downtown Minneapolis.

While it is unclear at the moment whether or not current structures on site will be reused there are some likely candidates that could be. The former Secondary Technical Center could easily be reused due to its structural integrity and its stunning views. Part of the former Central High School also could be used for some type of redevelopment. The entire site spans 77 acres, so needless to say, there's a lot that can be done.

Construction at 800 East Central Entrance could begin as soon as Fall 2015.

Our View


This site has been so development ready since the day that Central High School closed that it has been a shame to see it just sitting there. To be honest, we couldn't be more thrilled that a company like Harbor Bay Real Estate Advisors are the ones who snatched it up. The site is in good hands and we are certain something will be created that Duluth will truly be proud of.

Being "versatile" housing is planned for the site we think there are a few options of what could be. What we believe most likely will be the case is that due to the shear size of the site we might see some smaller housing development take place such as single family homes, town-homes, or row houses somewhere on site. Where on site these may be is hard to say.

We also feel like there is significant potential for larger housing developments to take place. It wouldn't be that surprising if we see a couple of apartment projects, maybe even a condo development of some sort. The views from this site are unbelievable and hard to compare to anywhere else. Does this mean we could see some sort of taller structures spanning above six stories? It's very possible.

While the statement released by the school district states that housing will be developed, that doesn't rule out commercial development too as the site is currently zoned for that type of development also. We still think the site is fit for a higher end hotel of some sort (our dreams have it as a Westin) along with some shops and restaurants. There's potential to really make this it a destination.

However, as the now proud owners themselves have said, "the possibilities are endless."

Time will tell, until then we'd love to hear your wishes with a comment below.

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