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The former Nettleton Elementary School | WDIO

What once were classrooms could see new life as residential units if a developer's plans come to fruition.

United Properties is in the process of purchasing the former Nettleton Elementary School, located at 108 E Sixth Street, with the hopes of turning the building into 50-60 units of senior housing. The company would invest about $10 million into the building in order to update, reconfigure, and restore the building to make it suitable for senior housing.

Before that can happen though a feasibility study is being conducted to see if the building can even be renovated in the first place.

Nettleton lies within Duluth's Hillside neighborhood. The building has been vacant since it closed in 2013 when the Duluth School's "Red Plan" went into affect. Since then a few prospective buyers have looked at the property with the most serious being Sherman Associates and Many Rivers Montessori schools.

Both deals unfortunately fell through, Sherman's due to financing and Many Rivers due to a conflict of interest as the School District stated it would not sell the property to K-12 competition.

There's a demand for housing in Downtown Duluth, especially when it comes to Senior housing. Many people who live in the area and have for many years are looking for places to "age in" with the hopes of finding something within their current neighborhood. At the moment most options, and most new developments for senior housing, are located in Duluth Heights near the Miller Hill Mall.

This would be United Properties second project in Duluth. Kenwood Village, a four-story mixed use building with ground floor retail and 83 residential units, is currently under construction at the intersection of Arrowhead Road and Kenwood Avenue. That project will welcome it's first residents in early February.

If United Properties feasibility study comes back positive the developer could begin construction as soon as this fall with an anticipated completion in early 2019.

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