Duluth on the Move

By KBJR News 1

February 19, 2014 Updated Feb 19, 2014 at 10:41 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - No one ever said moving would be easy.

There's the packing, the lifting and the whole making sure that everything arrives in one piece.

It's one thing if you're moving from one home to another. But, what if you're tasked with moving an entire company?

Environmental consulting firm, Barr Engineering, is picking up its offices on Superior Street in Downtown Duluth and moving them to the Waterfront Plaza in Canal Park.

"This will allow us to serve our clients and have a nice place to be able to come to work too," said Sheryl Filby Williams with Barr Engineering.

The company will take up the 5th and 7th floors of the building, overlooking Canal Park and the waterfront.

"We're moving about 100 employees, everyone has their own workstation and computer, in addition to, different things we need to work, ladders, printers, an entire office space," Filby Williams said."

This move pushes Atwater Real Estate out of the Plaza and into its new offices on East Superior Street.

"We've been knocked out of our home twice in the last three years actually," said Brian Forcier, president of the Atwater Group.

First Atwater was knocked out by Maurices from the old KDLH building. Now by Barr Engineering.

"So the joke in our office is exactly that. 'What's coming next in the 310 East Superior Street Building?' You never know," joked Forcier.

The highest profile move on the agenda in downtown Duluth involves retailer Maurices. The company's headquarters will be housed in an $80 million high rise on the west end of town.

"11 stories in height. It will span an entire city block that involves the current KDLH building and Palladio building and is confirmed by the city as the largest downtown commercial development to date," said Maurices CFO, Brian Thun during a January event.

The high rise development is also forcing neighboring Beacon Bank to pull up stakes and move. It's not going very far though.
The bank will set up shop 150 feet away, right next door to Starbucks, inside the Phoenix Building.

"This came up pretty quick," Tim Meininger of Beacon Bank said.

Construction is already underway on new offices as bank officials plan the daunting task of moving.

"It's going to be a turnkey situation where you shut off the lights on one at night. The next morning you turn the lights on in the other one. You gotta be ready to go," Meininger said.

And whether it's the Beacon Bank, Maurices or Barr Engineering, the city too, needs to be ready.

"We are at the cusp of additional expansion. I'm confident that it will continue into the foreseeable future," said David Ross, the president of the Duluth Area Chamber of Commerce.

City officials believe it's just the beginning, as Duluth moves toward a population goal of 90,000 by 2020.

Beacon Bank plans to move at the end of March.

Barr Engineering will relocate in June.

Written by Kevin Jacobsen
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